Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Gogol Bordello - Pura Vida Conspiracy

ImagePura Vida Conspiracy is Gogol Bordello’s 8th album offering (I think), since 1999 when the band was formed. Anyone who knows me will be aware that I personally think they’re one of the best bands on the planet, therefore me telling you that this album is worth your time and money isn’t going to encourage you to buy it. So I won’t.
Opening with We Rise Again, this is a typical Gogol Bordello track, rabble rousing, accordion and violin heavy opener, but a closer listen indicates much more pressing matters, “borders are scars on the face of the planet” and looking for a “radical future”, this is stuff that obviously affects the band and Eugene Hutz in particular. It’s a cracking track, quite a dark undertone after a few listens but at first it’s not their fastest paced track, but nor is it their slowest.
It leads nicely into Dig Deep Enough, a Greek-Mediterranean influenced track (musically). This track is part chilled and part crackers. It’s going to be amazing hearing this live, and to me it could be one of the new highlights of their live shows to come. Malandrino is a track that was released on the internet a while ago, so will be the track most people are familiar with, and it’s a belter; another good singalong track for live shows with a lovely reggae-tinged bassline running through it.

There’s not really a stand out track for me on this album, but there’s not a track that I’d skip either. It’s certainly worth waiting till the very end of the album, as the last minute and a half unleashes a cacophony of noise that part of me wishes the whole album had been like.
For me, the first 4 tracks will determine whether you’ll like this album or not. The album really grows on you with every listen. It’s pretty clear to me that dropping their record label after the last record has obviously done Gogol Bordello a favour, and the album is reminiscent of galloping horses that don’t want to stop running. But, if Gogol Bordello stop running then the nature of the band will change, as will their music. This isn’t an album that will convert the unconverted – this is an album for those not adverse to punk with a hint of musical influences from around the globe. Anyone into bands like Manu Chao, Bootscraper, Mariachi el Bronx, Rafven and the like.

I still haven’t forgiven myself for getting so inebriated I slept through their set at Boomtown 2011, and so I bought my ticket to see them at Brixton Academy before I’d heard anything off this album. They remain constantly inspirational, despite many copycat bands emerging in recent years (possibly due to a surge in popularity of Balkan flavoured vibes) and, for me, they’re one of the best bands around. For people looking for something like Gypsy Punks, you won’t find it hear. This album will reward you with a band that’s grown from that. But of course, crowd surfing drumming and a 90 minute cardiac workout won’t go amiss in December.
By Kathy Butler

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