Having relocated from New York to Rio de Janeiro, presumably to soak up the knife-toting party vibe, Eugene Hutz could be forgiven for not realising his dub-punk take on gypsy folk has been usurped by the sublime Balkan accordion balladry of Beirut and Mumford & Sons’ archaic folk fripperies.
Gogol Bordello: Pura Vida Conspiracy
Never mind the Balkans.
Hence he barrels unrepentantly into a sixth Gogol Bordello album that once again sounds like the traditional house band in a Urals bear-meat restaurant going berserk on Green Day covers. His dedication and passion are contagious, partly for the wild exuberance of the performance and partly for Hutz’s righteous broken-English politicising.
Extolling a unite-the-planet philosophy, he returns often to the topic of migration, yowling ‘Barriers are scars on the face of the planet,’ on strident, Balkan Pixies opener We Rise Again, and ‘Repatriation, what is my sin?’ on Lost Innocent World, a gypsy-folk take on a Morricone gunslinger stand-off. His impassioned tub-thumping adds an elbow-swinging beer-hall unity to reeling shanties like Name Your Ship and an underdog poignancy to the arpeggiated samba of I Just Realized.
Yet for all the ardent entreaties to join hands across the oceans on the gospel-flecked devil-punk cracker John The Conqueror, it’s Gypsy Auto Pilot, in which Hutz returns to his home village like an affectionate punk Borat, that provides the most touching, rousing and fundamentally human moment on an album out to stamp in your goulash for the good of humanity.