AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
 
Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle Album Cover

Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle

Reviewed by
7.9
Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle
Record Label: Columbia Records
Release Date: April 27, 2010
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Rick Rubin's track record speaks for itself. The man needs no introduction or superfluous praise. All of it's been said before. So when his name was attached to the likes of the quirky and unpredictable Gogol Bordello, widespread interest soon followed. What would the bearded genius do to the band's dynamic and worldly sounds? After a few listens of Trans-Continental Hustle, it appears Rubin hasn't done much.

Eugene Hutz and his multi-racial bandmates once again offer up a mind-bending, genre-wielding assortment of gypsy-inspired folk with a decidedly melodic flair. Whether or not the rhythmic nature is due to the tutelage of Rubin is anyone's guess. But it is most certainly melodic. But melody alone can't carry a project forward. Plain and simple, Trans-Continental Hustle is a decent album that seems to rest on the band's multi-national roots and Hutz's Balkan growling to accomplish its goal. And while it's certainly an engaging and inspired exercise, the disc grows awfully weary after about a half-dozen songs. For starters, Hutz's sandpapery vocal delivery sounds more like an affectation than that of a genuine accent. And while it may seem unfair to attack him for this, it's worth debating for the very fact that he allows his accent and his vocals to take center stage.

Whereas most vocalists allow their voices to tell a story, Hutz lets his vocals be the story. It's almost as if whatever he's singing about isn't that important. To Hutz, what's most important is that we the listener hear him. And hear him we do. He growl, he moans, he hollers and bellows. And never once is any of it genuine, inspiring or worth coming back to. So much of the album feels histrionic, over-the-top and melodramatic. It's almost as if Hutz doesn't understand the difference between music and theatre.

In terms of substance, the disc feels an awful lot like organized chaos, a musical orgy without rules, tact or sincerity. In sum, it's one giant beer-swilling party and who the fuck cares about anything else? Trans-Continental's best tracks, the Latin-inspired "My Companjera," the should-be single "Rebellious Love," and the tender ballad "When Universes Collide," are certainly kinetic, charismatic and creative, but they don't sound that different from much of the disc's other compositions. Differentiating "Break the Spell," from "Raise the Knowledge," or "To Rise Above," takes an awful lot of close listening and with a society whose collective attention span is zero, close listening is a bit of a tall order.

Hutz is a first-rate lyricist and is certainly an interesting force. Bringing Eastern European folk music to the national consciousness is certainly worth merit, but making it indelible, commercial and engaging are a completely different matter. For now, Trans-Continental Hustle sounds like a band riding a wave of momentum with eyes closed and baited breath, hoping that the novelty won't wear off. With an album this heavy-handed, the novelty might be over now. Even with Rick Rubin at the helm.

Track Listing 1. Pala Tute.
2. My Companjera.
3. When the Sun Comes Up.
4. Rebelliouss Love
5. We Comin' Rougher
6. When Universes Collide
7. Uma Menina Uma Cigana
8. Raise the Knowledge
9. Last One Goes The Hope
10. To Rise Above
11. In the Meantime in Pernambuco
12. Break the Spell
13. Trans-Continental Hustle


Gogol Bordello is Eugene Hutz (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion) - Ukraine
Sergey Ryabtsev (violin, backing vocals) - Russia
Yuri Lemeshev (accordion, backing vocaals) - Russia
Oren Kaplan (guitar, backing vocals) - Israel
Thomas Gobena (bass, backing vocals) - Ethiopia
Pamela Jintana Racine (percussion, vocals, dance/performance) - USA
Elizabeth Sun (percussion, vocals, dance/performance) - Scotland
Pedro Erazo (percussion, MC) - Ecuador
Oliver Charles (drums) - USA


Recommended If You Like Devotchka, Flogging Molly, Slavic Soul Party!, klezmer, soft drugs


Find Them Here Myspace
Website
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 21
07:17 AM on 05/05/10
#2
zachff
deadformat.net/tradelist/zachff
Online
User Info.
zachff's Avatar
Comprehensive review, but it sounds like this won't be the album that changes my mind about Gogol Bordello (I dislike them).
07:20 AM on 05/05/10
#3
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
Offline
User Info.
Gregory Robson's Avatar
Comprehensive review, but it sounds like this won't be the album that changes my mind about Gogol Bordello (I dislike them).
Your opinion is pretty much valid. I was hoping Rubin would do something different. Maybe make it more stripped down, less lively. Maybe a bit more sad. Instead its just one bacchanalian party. I'm over it.
07:54 AM on 05/05/10
#4
freakster
When I fly solo, I fly so high!
Offline
User Info.
freakster's Avatar
I just picked this up yesterday and haven't had the chance to give it a proper spin (I was too busy with new Deftones, I'm guilty).

After reading this, I'm kinda bummed that they didn't try something a little different (not that their current formula is bad but it's nice to see where else a band can take it.)

With that being said, I'm a Gogol Bordello fan. I think Gypsy Punks is their best album to date. Also, they have one of the best live shows I've ever seen.
08:08 AM on 05/05/10
#5
James RE Hughey
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
James RE Hughey's Avatar
The album is fun and I would love to see them live, but I can't listen to it over and over. I am not even sure I could listen to over half of it, but that half that gets played is so much fun.
08:15 AM on 05/05/10
#6
3GunGaz
Claret and Blue
Offline
User Info.
3GunGaz's Avatar
Good review - I didn't think Super Taranta lived up to Gypsy Punks, and I don't think Trans-Continental Hustle does.... I think Gypsy Punks was so good, and is their best album to date. That being said, I do love all 3 albums, with Gypsy Punks being one of my favourites of all time. The opening paragraph being a bit like Gogol Bordello... it appears a bit chaotic, and a bit of a mess... but it makes sense somehow.

To be honest I was quite disappointed with the production on this record. It just lacked something... maybe I was expecting too much because of the big name.

As for style, I disagree completely with the comment above - "I'm kinda bummed that they didn't try something a little different." They're a self-proclaimed 'gypsy punk band' - so this record was never going to be a drastic change.... in the same way that blink-182 aren't going to come out with a hardcore record. It's going to be a bit punk, and it's going to have that gypsy sound / influence (Gogol Bordello of course, not blink-182).

But on this record I think they have tried something new - and if you haven't heard it then maybe you need to listen again, I don't know - maybe it's just me. There is a BIG latin influence on this record in my opinion... I know that Eugene lives / lived in Rio, and I assume that this is part of the reason. I love the addition of the latin feel, and I think it works great.

Only time will tell if it's lasting for me - I haven't played it as much as Gypsy Punks, as I didn't with Super Taranta... but that's probably because the gypsy-punk sound isn't as new to me as it was then. I think it's a great album though, and if I didn't have their back catalogue to compare it to I'd probably think more of it. Therefore... a good, solid album - gyspy party! - but not their peak.
08:20 AM on 05/05/10
#7
Hagysaurus Rex
We yell like hell to the heavens.
Offline
User Info.
Hagysaurus Rex's Avatar
Good review. I can't wait to check this out.

Plus, any new album Gogol tours on is okay with me. This band is crazy-go-nuts in concert.
08:58 AM on 05/05/10
#8
freakster
When I fly solo, I fly so high!
Offline
User Info.
freakster's Avatar
Good review - I didn't think Super Taranta lived up to Gypsy Punks, and I don't think Trans-Continental Hustle does.... I think Gypsy Punks was so good, and is their best album to date. That being said, I do love all 3 albums, with Gypsy Punks being one of my favourites of all time. The opening paragraph being a bit like Gogol Bordello... it appears a bit chaotic, and a bit of a mess... but it makes sense somehow.

To be honest I was quite disappointed with the production on this record. It just lacked something... maybe I was expecting too much because of the big name.

As for style, I disagree completely with the comment above - "I'm kinda bummed that they didn't try something a little different." They're a self-proclaimed 'gypsy punk band' - so this record was never going to be a drastic change.... in the same way that blink-182 aren't going to come out with a hardcore record. It's going to be a bit punk, and it's going to have that gypsy sound / influence (Gogol Bordello of course, not blink-182).

I guess I phrased it wrong...I admittedly haven't given it a proper listen so I should reserve judgement but from what I have heard it sounds a like they could've experimented with other "sounds" while still sticking to their core. I'm not expecting something completely different...this is definitely a "you get what you see" band. I'm simply stating my opinion.
09:02 AM on 05/05/10
#9
ImTheSheriff
///
Offline
User Info.
ImTheSheriff's Avatar
lala lala lala lala pala tute!
09:37 AM on 05/05/10
HometownHero
Offline
User Info.
HometownHero's Avatar
Best live band out there
10:59 AM on 05/05/10
3GunGaz
Claret and Blue
Offline
User Info.
3GunGaz's Avatar
I guess I phrased it wrong...I admittedly haven't given it a proper listen so I should reserve judgement but from what I have heard it sounds a like they could've experimented with other "sounds" while still sticking to their core. I'm not expecting something completely different...this is definitely a "you get what you see" band. I'm simply stating my opinion.
Apologies if I came across as - 'you shouldn't have your opinion.'

I do admit it's not exactly a big step away from their sound, but I definitely feel there is a big latin influence to their sound on this record at times. As you say - their style is a 'get what you see' type of thing... but I think they're still doing it well.
11:02 AM on 05/05/10
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
Offline
User Info.
Gregory Robson's Avatar
Apologies if I came across as - 'you shouldn't have your opinion.'

I do admit it's not exactly a big step away from their sound, but I definitely feel there is a big latin influence to their sound on this record at times. As you say - their style is a 'get what you see' type of thing... but I think they're still doing it well.
Being that Eugene now lives in South America, it's only natural there is a Latin feel. But to be honest, aside from song titles and a few Spanish phrases, I don't feel a decidedly Latin vibe. This still sounds like Eastern European Balkan folk. That's probably why I'm so upset. My hunch is that if Eugene wanted to do a straight Latin folk album, a la Susana Baca, he probably could. Instead he chose to do what he knows best and it wore on me pretty quickly. This album could have been a lot better, especially with Rubin at the knobs.
11:59 AM on 05/05/10
KillTheHausEnvy
Eat, sleep, fuck and flee.
Offline
User Info.
KillTheHausEnvy's Avatar
Instead its just one bacchanalian party. I'm over it.

You definitely have to see them live to fully appreciate their sound, because that describes their live shows to a tee - one bacchanalian party! I just saw them in Baltimore and it was probably the best show of my life. Do I listen to their album constantly at home? No. If they come around again am I buying tickets? A thousand times yes. I've literally never felt so much a part of something as I did when the crowd erupted for "Start Wearing Purple." It was a big love fest full of ja-ja's and hey! hey!'s. Amazing.

Also, the guy from Ecuador totally drum surfs...as in, he stood on a drum and was passed to the back to shake hands with the balcony folk. It was legendary.
12:00 PM on 05/05/10
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
Offline
User Info.
Gregory Robson's Avatar
You definitely have to see them live to fully appreciate their sound, because that describes their live shows to a tee - one bacchanalian party! I just saw them in Baltimore and it was probably the best show of my life. Do I listen to their album constantly at home? No. If they come around again am I buying tickets? A thousand times yes. I've literally never felt so much a part of something as I did when the crowd erupted for "Start Wearing Purple." It was a big love fest full of ja-ja's and hey! hey!'s. Amazing.

Also, the guy from Ecuador totally drum surfs...as in, he stood on a drum and was passed to the back to shake hands with the balcony folk. It was legendary.
Seen them live twice. It is quite a romp.
03:38 PM on 05/05/10
Shinobi1791
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, YOU BASTARDS!
Offline
User Info.
Shinobi1791's Avatar
Gogol Bordello are amazing!

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
UnderTheGun
Purevolume
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate