Gogol Bordello

Seekers and Finders

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Gogol Bordello recorded 2013's Pure Vida Conspiracy in San Antonio, Texas. Despite a few nods to country music in their manic mash of gypsy, punk, dub, and other forms, it sounded like it could have been recorded in New York. Conversely, the ghost of San Antonio haunts Seekers and Finders, despite the fact that the album was recorded on three continents. With leader Eugene Hutz assuming production duties, most of these songs couch the band's trademark version of Hungarian gypsy-punk fury inside music that has its home on the U.S.-Mexico border: Tex-Mex, outlaw country, rootsy rockabilly, norteño, and even mariachi. Gogol Bordello still deliver various global traditions in every song, but they are colored into the margins; they flit in and out of a rootsy musical palette that seems directed lyrically as well as musically at conflicts -- individual and collective -- centered in between the two in no man's land. This is music born of all countries that holds none as its own.

Sergey Rvabtsev's violin and Pasha Newmerzhitsky's accordion introduce "We Did It All," crushing punk-cum-outlaw bash that celebrates life at the end of time. "Walking on the Burning Coal" offers a minor-key Americana melody that gives way to a rock explosion expanded by mariachi brass and swirling violins. Regina Spektor assists Hutz on the title track, which pulls out the restless gypsy soul and juxtaposes it with a country two-step as the singers entwine voices in barely restrained celebration. "Clearvoyance" (sic) commences with a dubby bassline, slippery acoustic and electric guitars, and organic percussion as Hutz sings about his protagonist's nomadic life: that of an outlaw immigrant, reminiscing and reflecting under an open sky explaining the wealth inherent in poverty and freedom: "Besides my love to share/I ain’t got nothing to declare." "Saboteur Blues" is a burning, blazing punk jam with soaring violins, power chords, and thumping kick drums. It's pure raging rock & roll intensity. By contrast, "Familia Bonfireball," with its lonesome Duane Eddy-esque guitar twang, hovers under Hutz's lyrics about life and the togetherness of found family (the one you choose), even when spending one's life on the run. Rvabtsev's violin evokes both travel and the longing for home. The spiky guitar chords in "Love Gangsters" signal a funky rhythmic pulse accented by Eastern European folk melody paced by rock & roll drums. The killer "You Know Who We Are" is perhaps the first recorded fusion of gypsy-punk and Mexican cumbia. Closer "Still That Way" is a ragged and raucous country song that could have been done by the Mekons. Despite all the memories, longing, and reminiscing evidenced on the earlier tracks, Hutz turns it all on its head at the close: "Remember times when the colors were brighter/And streets were filled with easy rhyme?/It is still that way if you ask about it..." Seekers and Finders is as riotous, poignant, and fun as anything by Gogol Bordello; that said, Hutz's raw production is a closer reflection of the band's live sound.

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