Review : Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle
LatimesblogsFollowing a decade-long climb from New York’s rock underground to prominent bookings at virtually every music festival in the world, Gogol Bordello seems poised for a big-time breakthrough: The band’s new album is its first for a major label and was produced by Rick Rubin, A-list shaman to a diverse galaxy of stars that includes the Dixie Chicks, Metallica and Johnny Cash.
Yet, if “Trans-Continental Hustle” represents Gogol Bordello’s chance to crack the mainstream — to attract listeners, for instance, who might’ve witnessed the band’s collaboration with Madonna at Live Earth a few years ago — the gypsy-punk group certainly hasn’t softened its attack for the occasion.
In “Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher),” frontman Eugene Hütz growls over thrashing double-time guitars, “In corridors full of tear gas our destinies jammed every day, like deleted scenes from Kafka flushed down the bureaucratic drain.” Strong words from this mustachioed Ukrainian émigré — and words he improbably endows with pop-song power....full text
PopmattersSince Super Taranta!, Gogol Bordello’s excellent 2007 breakthrough, the band has built plenty of hot anticipation for a follow-up by earning a reputation as one of rock’s most combustible live bands. Along the way, they caught the ear of goldsmith-guru Rick Rubin, who has produced their fifth album, Trans-continental Hustle.
Gogol has the kind of fiercely loyal audience that grows jealous of its beloved band, so the news of Rubin’s involvement came with both eagerness and anxiety. After all, Rubin has busied himself lately by smoothing the edges out of roots/Americana artists like Brandi Carlile, Johnny Cash, and the Avett Brothers, and some fans feared that Gogol’s full-throttle attack would go soft under Rubin’s tutelage.
However, Gogol groupies can put those fears aside for Trans-continental Hustle, remembering that Rubin is also the producer who has been on the front lines of some seriously heavy music, often moving bands further into the mainstream, yes, but without compromising their essential heaviosity. Gogol Bordello is not Slayer, but anyone who has attended a Gogol show will tell you that you’d better be ready, if not for an elbow in the ear, then at least for the ethno-clash dance party of your life. Anyone describing this band is required by federal mandate to use the phrases “gypsy punk” and “multi-ethnic”, true enough labels, but whatever you call them (Slav-rock? Ukrave? Worldcore?), Gogol Bordello gives Rubin an opportunity to shape the evolution of another band known for unbridled energy, and it’s a project that again proves the profit of such a pairing....full text
MusicomhWhat an unlikely pairing Eastern Europe-via-New York gypsy punk rockers Gogol Bordello and producer Rick Rubin, known for his work with just about every rock band, make. Anyone who'd lost faith in the über-producer and Sony Music bigwig after realizing that all the bands he worked with tended to come out of the same nu-rock mould is in for a surprise; his work on Trans-Continental Hustle is surprisingly efficient and elevates Gogol Bordello to a new level.
Or perhaps it's because the band is fronted by the equally visionary Eugene Hutz, who sees music as an anthropological study. The Gogol Bordello singer-songwriter moved to Brazil two years ago and his new exotic surroundings have added new flavours to his music: a little samba here, some ska there or a bit of Brazilian gypsy influence mixed up amongst it all results in the band's richest album yet, both in content and sheer insanity. As the title suggests, Trans-Continental Hustle really does cross continents, from Eastern Europe to South America. It's a paean to global culture....full text
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