“If we are here not to do/ what you and I wanna do/ and go forever crazy with it,/ why the hell we are even here?” asks Eugene Hutz at the opening of Super Taranta. Then, with a guttural cry, he summons the rest of the band into the mix, and immediately you want to start jumping up and down to the carnival-like rhythm.
Charismatic gypsy rockers Gogol Bordello try to channel their live pizzazz into a rollicking new record
That’s the Gogol Bordello effect, and thus it’s no surprise that their live shows are infamous. On disc, however, the urge to go nuts clashes with the fact that, most likely, you are listening while trapped before speakers or between headphones. With his opening question, Hutz urges you to throw aside the album and kick open your front door. Why listen to Super Taranta when you can throw some clothes in a knapsack, hop on a train or bus and find your way to Gogol Bordello’s next show?
Maybe blasting the album through a giant public soundsystem would be comparable to Gogol Bordello’s live show. The band does sprinkle some dub beats into their cauldron of frenetic gypsy punk, and most songs bounce enough to hold up in the club.
But without a crowd of sweaty, flailing arms and legs, Super Taranta falls short. Clocking in at over an hour, the CD can only spin for so long before your mind wanders. There are good moments, like the slower-paced tipsiness of “Alcohol” and the infectious, swooning build-up of “Dub The Frequencies Of Love,” but, as a whole, Super Taranta lacks cohesiveness outside of the fact that it consistently makes you wish you were gulping down cheap wine and watching the band strut their colorful costumes around the stage, as they have twice in Charlottesville.
Big fans might want to pick this one up, as the production successfully captures Gogol Bordello’s energetic trans-European sound, but if you’re more intrigued by the actual physical manifestation of Hutz’s rambling spirit, wait until this pack of vagabond folk-punks returns to town.