wed 20/06/2018

CD: Gogol Bordello - Seekers and Finders | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Gogol Bordello - Seekers and Finders

CD: Gogol Bordello - Seekers and Finders

New York's globe-trotting gypsy punks do what they always do - with diminishing results

Seekers and Finders: raucous barroom hoedown imprint

As a live phenomenon Gogol Bordello are unstoppable, a crowd-whipping Balkan-punk storm that sweeps venues away with them. For some years this blinded me to their recorded output. Their albums sent shivers up my spine, a tinctured version of their explosive performances, and I was unable to understand why, despite their wildness, rock’n’roll attitude, and ability to rip out a solid tune, their success remained of the cult variety. Listening to Seekers and Finders, things are clearer.

Frontman Eugene Hutz has the charisma and zip of Joe Strummer, with whom his artistry has much in common, but he doesn’t have the Clash singer’s ability to distill a lyric down to something potent and epithetic, nor does he muster anywhere near as much musical range. The title track of Seekers and Finders, which features New York alt-folker Regina Spektor, opens with the couplet, “Not all horses are gonna need blinders/Not all seekers will be finders,” and it’s a good summation of where Gogol Bordello’s wordage is at. Meanwhile most of the album adheres to a raucous barroom accordion/fiddle/guitar hoedown imprint.

Enough negativity and criticism, though. If you like Gogol Bordello, and I do, there’s juice here. “Saboteur Blues” is intended as a take-down of René Descartes, an ode to living in the moment, and is firin’ gypsy hard rock; “If I Ever Get Home Before Dark” has a stumbling-drunk-down-a-late-night-alley charm, and “Still That Way” has something of the Stones about it, albeit via a terrace anthem chorus. Seekers and Finders, their seventh studio album, finds Gogol Bordello’s galloping strut firmly intact, from open to close.

However, over a decade since their international breakthrough, they remain a killer festival act no closer to wider appreciation or capable of achieving it. They could do with some sort of overhaul to bring surprise and freshness back. Then again, just as I finished this review, I checked the one I wrote for their last album, four years ago, and it says practically the same thing.

Overleaf: Listen to "Saboteur Blues" by Gogol Bordello

Frontman Eugene Hutz has the charisma and zip of Joe Strummer, with whom his artistry has much in common


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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