It has been four years since Gogol Bordello’s last album Pura Vida Conspiracy and during that time main Bordello keeper Eugene Hütz bounced between Brazil the Ukraine and New York City. So the title of the newest release Seekers and Finders is appropriate however Hütz describes the record not as a travelogue, but a spiritual journey and a call to grab life by the balls, live in the now.
For those unfamiliar with Gogol Bordello they are an inhaling/exhaling gypsy band that merges all sorts of nomadic world styles with wild abandon and propulsive punk energy. Opening with the frantic strings of “Did It All” the chaotic burning power is present from the start with Sergey Ryabtsev violin showcased often. “Walking On the Burning Coal” uses a pumped up trumpet and could pass as a standard song from the fiery band but then things begin to coalesce.
The focal point of the album and combo mission statement from the group is the pairing of “Break Into Your Higher Self” and the title track. The idea of everyone’s own spirituality is central here as the band first insists that “There must be more to this life” over electric guitars and upbeat strings all following the slamming drums of Alfredo Ortiz for the exhilarating, hard hitting song. The dramatic title track follow up has Hütz expertly duet with Regina Spektor continuing the theme of being/thinking/experiencing life for yourself and (most importantly) in the present. This feeling of now-is-all-that-matters is wrapped up in sing-along album closer “Still That Way” which proclaims that today is actually the “good old day”.
All tracks hover around the three minute mark, fueling an immediacy that is contagious. Extra praise should also be given to Hütz for production duties, which he returns to after a few albums of guests helping out. While his singing voice is not for everyone, in the producer’s chair he makes sure all members of his motley crew shine.
From the Spanish lyrics and swaying tempos of “Familia Bonfireball” to the easy listening pause of “Clearvoyance” to the acoustic swelling/rambling of “If I Ever Get Home Before Dark” and “You Know Who You Are” all the bases are covered. The only missteps arrive when internal styles are at odds such as the metal guitar/sweet violins of “Saboteur Blues” or the overly dramatic car chase soundtrack of “Love Gangsters”.
While not as raw as Gypsy Punks Underdog World Strike Hütz (more than ten years removed from that breakthrough) is still fully engaged and moreover the unifying theme of the title/lyrical content of the songs elevate this above their recent releases. Seekers and Finders proves that melding styles, sounds and cultures, while savoring the moment, is the best we can all do and exactly what Gogol Bordello exceeds at.