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Album review: Gogol Bordello, "Trans-Continental Hustle"

By Bill Friskics-Warren

Few punks this side of the Mekons and the Clash make resistance sound as liberating as Gogol Bordello; ever fewer have made as many timely and great albums, and the group's latest is no exception. Produced by the ubiquitous Rick Rubin, "Trans-Continental Hustle" relies more on acoustic instrumentation - Gypsy violins, sighing accordion, heavily strummed guitars - than the band's last couple of releases. Its call for immigrants the world over to mobilize and unite, though, remains as urgent and relevant as ever.

(Slightly less raucous, still plenty commanding, after the jump.)

At stake, as Ukrainian American frontman Eugene Hutz sings in "Immigraniada (We Comin' Rough)," are the destinies of people being "flushed down the bureaucratic drain." In "Break the Spell," giving voice to the anti-immigrant sentiment suffered by the Southern Slavic refugees now crowded into Italian shantytowns, he cries, "Just because I come from (the) Roma camp up the hill / They put me in a school for (the) mentally ill." As the song's marching cadence intensifies, he adds, "You love our music, but you hate our guts / I know you still want me to ride (in) the back of the bus."

Though not as bacchanalian as its predecessors, the music here - lusty choruses, Balkan beats, bold, indelible hooks - is hardly less visceral or commanding. Even more, in some respects, than Hutz's righteous and incisive lyrics, it's his band's glorious multi-ethnic revelry, from Latin and Arabic flourishes to the occasional dub pulse, that embodies what an unfettered global community might look like.

Recommended tracks: "Immigraniada (We Comin' Rough)," "Trans-Continental Hustle," "Sun Is on My Side"

Gogol Bordello plays Rams Head Live in Baltimore April 29 and 30.

By David Malitz  |  April 27, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags: Gogol Bordello  
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Next: Album review: B.o.B., "B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray"

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