Yet another unexpected slap upside the head from Rubric, the label that’s growing to be as consistently good and eccentric as biggies like Matador and Sub Pop. This time, it’s Gogol Bordello, an outfit presumably from Hutzovina. Led by Eugene Hutz, this combo sounds as genuinely foreign as Andy Kaufman’s Ladka — nobody really sounds like this, but it neatly summarizes the Eastern European and Gypsy stereotypes with thumping drums, an accordion, and a thickly-accented but clearly emotional singer. Genuine or not, Gogol Bordello never stray into Bronson Pinchot’s over-the-top Balki territory, and Hutz can actually croak out stuff like “start wearing purple for me now, all your sanity and wits they will all vanish, I promise, it’s just a matter of time” and not sound as ridiculous as that reads. It sounds downright cool.
Other highlights on here are “Shy Kind of Guy,” which pins a flowing accordion against a determined acoustic guitar, with Hutz name-checking Peter The Great. “Mussolini vs. Stalin” is either a metaphor or a recollection of a very interesting fishing trip between world leaders. The closing “Against The Nature” sounds like what the bars in Hutzovina close with so the patrons can go home and milk the goats.
As you may have guessed by now, Gogol Bordello is crazy stuff. Between the accordion, guitar and papers-please mentality, it’s a trip to some weirdo land intended for the adventurous. Travel light!