July 13, 2005

Gogol Bordello "East Infection"

When it comes to live performance intensity, the New York-based Gogol Bordello has no competition. These guys are simply frantic onstage; they've been banned from numerous clubs in New York, simply because of their habit of breaking everything in sight. A friend of mine saw them at a festival last year, and said that they made The Polyphonic Spree seem stoic and boring. Such things are a matter of opinion, of course, but it only goes to show what many have been saying for years: don't miss Gogol Bordello.

Be that as it may, Gogol Bordello's recorded work actually captures their live intensity quite well. The six songs on East Infection burn with a raging passion that's missing in today's independent music scene. Led by the enigmatic and charismatic Russian-born Eugene Hutz, Gogol Bordello's mixture of punk and traditional Gypsy music is a refreshing change of pace. As weird of a combination as the two may be, their ability to mix both styles together in a masterful way doesn't sound forced, and their skill at mixing the two is a large part of their appeal. Whether it's the driving, raunchy thrash-rock of "East Infection" and the accordian-driven "Strange Uncles from Abroad" or the masterful updating of centuries-old traditional styles on "Madagascar-Romania (Tu jesty fata)" and "Ave. B," East Infection always proves to be an entertaining, energetic listen. Try listening to Gogol Bordello in your car--but just be prepared to catch yourself speeding!

Gogol Bordello is a band on the verge of greatness--and it's a greatness well-deserved. East Infection is a great introduction to this fascinating group, and if the musical scraps found on East Infection are any indication, their forthcoming album is probably going to be one of this year's best releases.

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.gogolbordello.com
Label Website: http://www.rubricrecords.com

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