ALBUM REVIEW: Wrapped up in Gogol Bordello’s ‘Conspiracy’

Print This Page

First Posted: 7/29/2013

Gypsy rock geniuses Gogol Bordello have broken genre and cultural barriers to win over the ears of fans once again with their 6th studio album. Released through Casa Gogol Records on July 23, “Pura Vida Conspiracy” makes listening to nonsensical music the perfectly sensible thing to do. Gogol Bordello has been known to make music that looks and sounds best when executed live with quirky stage energy, but “Pure Vida Conspiracy” provides a unique listening experience from the comfort of a couch or car stereo.

Gogol Bordello has previously been known for their alternative-gypsy punk spin on bar brawl-ish polka tunes while lyrically incorporating several different languages. “Pura Vida Conspiracy” displays plenty of frantic energy while effectively slowing the pace down every once in a while with more soothing and sensitive songs such as “Malandrino.”

The album culminates in the ideas that life is short and change is a necessary aspect of being human, reflected through a diverse collection of sounds. Packing a punk-oriented punch, “We Rise Again” starts the album off aggressively, moving into a more traditional mandolin, polka sound in “Dig Deep Punch,” progressing into the Spanish folk vibe of “I Just Realized” with the simple power of the lyrics, “Where is the exit? Of course there is none,” reverberating after the songs end. The album completes itself with the 10-minute, but not too long reggae ska song “We Shall Sail.”

The album as a whole puts the band’s idea of global and cultural integration and their self-identification of gypsies on display much more than their previous work. Possibly, they have reached a level of stability and confidence after years of touring and records, or maybe they just no longer care to appease and are showing their true colors, which are even more vibrant than before. Culture has such a raw impact on their music, as Eugene Hutz folds in locations, languages, and experiences from every step of his unique life. Their partial glamorization of gypsy living is what sets Gogol Bordello apart, whether on stage or in the studio.

“Pura Vida Conspiracy” is a journey to dirty urban basements, the Spanish countryside, bars full of tension and energy, Jamaican beaches, gypsy alleys, and a traditional family gathering. Gogol Bordello manages to pull you into each setting with ease, adapting to your musical surroundings and making each one feel like an eclectic piece of home.

Gogol Bordello ‘Pura Vida Conspiracy’ Rating: W W W W

-Erika Firestone, Weekender Correspondent