Having lost no energy along the way, the gypsy punks are back with their sixth full-length studio album. On Pura Vida Conspiracy one could even say that Gogol Bordello have gathered momentum and the result is more rip-roaring than ever. Unlike previous releases, the atmosphere presiding over Pura Vida Conspiracy is overwhelmingly American in feel; in equal (and frankly odd) measures folky and punk rock. They have retained their trademark locomotive rhythms and racing tempo.
What’s It Sound Like?
Opener ‘We Rise Again’ sets the tone for the whole record, one of progress marching towards a better future: “For me music is a way to explore human potential,” says singer Eugene Hütz. “And that’s my main interest in life – human potential. Everyone knows there’s something inside of us that we’re not using. How do we get it? How do we reach it? Every single person knows that there’s something and nobody knows what it is. So at one point I said to myself, I’m gonna get down and get it.”
Further into the album takes a different turn. ‘Name Your Ship’ has a distinctly Irish sound, akin to The Pogues, most likely due to the song’s instruments used. Just when we are beginning to fear that Gogol Bordello have forgotten their Eastern European roots, they claw back their original sound with the central track ‘Rainbow’. In a band with such a diverse background, many of the themes are epitomised by the lyric: “Borders are scars on face of the planet.” Unfortunately, often the powerful backing drowns out the vocals – a real shame considering their important message.
A change of pace is provided by ‘I Just Realized’, a seductive track sustained by Spanish guitar along (predictably for Gogol) with a spicy whiff of accordion. We are then directly dropped back onto the Gogol Bordello treadmill, set on a speed one notch too fast, just to keep us on our toes.
Pura Vida Conspiracy ventures away from Gogol Bordello’s previous sound, straying into more classic rock or in some cases folk. For fans of their music, this new departure may not be entirely to your taste. It is however, markedly still the work of Gogol Bordello.