Today marks the release of Gogol Bordello’s sixth full-length album Pura Vida Conspiracy, released via ATO records and MapleMusic Recordings.
The album’s title is derived from a Spanish slang phrase for “pure life,” which is a theme that the band wanted to resonate throughout the record.
Since the band is so political, I thought Gogol Bordello would use the last few years of global revolt against abusive governments as an inspiration for the new album. Though they do seem to do this, it is not in the way that I expected.
Gogol Bordello does stay true to its punk roots with themes of protest and solidarity, but to be honest, I’m a little disappointed. And if you’ve been a fan of the band for a while, you will be too.
Obviously, Gogol Bordello can never really sound totally generic, but this album pushes them as close as a gypsy-punk band can get.
Pura Vida Conspiracy is an album to attract new fans for the band. They might be successful. They might keep old fans happy since they will continue to tour and they are known for their great live shows.
But from a purely musical perspective, the band’s unique gypsy-punk sound is minimized by the influence of commercial punk sounds, generic song structures, and repetition.
That is not to say that this isn’t a good album. There are quite a few songs that I really enjoyed.
“We Rise Again” is a fast-paced and catchy song. I think the lyrics from the chorus are pretty cool: “Borders are scars on the face of the planet.”
The next song “Dig Deep Enough” follows this theme of joining people together and is also a solid song.
“Maladrino” starts off as a beautiful, slow folk song that gradually picks up speed and ends up being quite the fun song.
However, then you come across a song like “Name Your Ship,” which sounds like a celtic punk song with the occasional accordion and sung by a dude with an Eastern European accent.
Luckily songs like “I just Realized” can make up for that. It’s a really beautiful slower song that is unquestionably Gogol Bordello, and I love the incorporation of soft female vocals that sing along with Eugene.
“She Shall Sail” is the last song and features a secret track at the 8 minute mark that caught me off guard. It’s a cool heavy riff that leads to a weird heavy metal guitar solo. Really funny way to end the album and I’ll give them props for it.
After listening to the album several times, it grew on me. Maybe I’m just a stubborn old fan upset with the new sound. Maybe not. Overall, I suggest that you give this album a chance. It will spice up whatever old playlist you have on repeat right now.