Monday, July 13, 2015

Gogol Bordello - Pura Vida Conspiracy

Here we go waveriders.  If you've been reading the reviews on The Ripple Effect for any length of time then you surely have noticed that I (pardon me, this is Penfold speaking) like to write about bands that fuse together musical genres and styles in interesting ways.  Yes I love bands that stick to established musical templates, but I get especially excited for new sounds that bring with them new musical experiences.  Today I'd like to highlight the most recent release from a band that has been exposing my ears to joyful, unique musical excursions since I began listening to them several years ago.  The band is Gogol Bordello and their latest release is called Pura Vida Conspiracy.

Gogol Bordello entered my life after I happened upon the music video for their single "Stop Wearing Purple" being aired on television.  I only caught about thirty seconds of the song, but what I heard was undeniably intriguing.  This was music far removed from what I was exposing my ears to at the time.  A few days later I went online to research the band and discovered that they were releasing a new album.  When Super Taranta! hit store shelves I took a chance and purchased a copy.  After I hit play for the first time I knew that I'd struck pay dirt!

For those unaware there a couple of things that make GB stand out.  First and foremost the music they create falls under the description gypsy punk.  That is a bit overly simplistic thanks to their evolutionary path, but it will suffice as an all encompassing descriptor for now.  The mashup of Ukrainian/gypsy folk music with punk rock, Latin influences, dub, etc. is truly something to behold.  The elements fuse together so seamlessly the listener would be forgiven for thinking that these songs don't represent a novel musical approach.

GB also stands out on the musical landscape due to the band's multi-cultural membership.  Lead singer/guitarist Eugene Hutz is Ukrainian.  The violin player Sergey Ryabtsev is from Gorky City, Russia (now Nizhny Novgorod).  Bass player Thomas Gobena is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Accordion player Pasha Newmar is from Belarus.  Percussionist/dancer Elizabeth Sun is Chinese/Scottish.  Emcee/percussionist Pedro Erazo is Ecuadorian.  Rounding out the cast is drummer Oliver Charles and guitarist Boris Pelekh, both from the USA.  See what I mean?  This band IS a melting pot!

Pura Vida Conspiracy is an enchanting album from start to finish.  Aggressive, up-tempo numbers like album opener "We Rise Again", "Lost Innocent World", and "John The Conqueror (Truth Is Always The Same)" find a perfect balance against more wistful, reflective tunes like "The Other Side Of Rainbow", "I Just Realized", and "Hieroglyph".  Cheerful sounding fare like "My Gypsy Autopilot" and "It Is The Way You Name Your Ship" have the power to break the listener out of any kind of funk they are experiencing.  One song I want to highlight specifically is "Malandrino".  The way this track builds from its humble acoustic beginnings to an explosive full band sprint across the finish line is simply wonderful!

Waveriders I should have written about Gogol Bordello long ago.  Not only have they put out fantastic albums such as Pura Vida Conspiracy, they can also lay claim to one of the best live performances I have ever witnessed!  If you want to add a huge amount of musical diversity to your listening library with minimal investment this is your band, and PVC is your album!

- Penfold

Buy Here: Amazon

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