By: Chris Pacifico
Super Taranta! (Side One Dummy) is perfect fighting music. It's not violent nor does it incite violence but one can easily imagine a bunch of hot headed Slavic folks all tanked up at a bar in some Eastern bloc nation, where all it takes is for one person to mouth off before a wide scale brawl breaks out - chairs, pool cues, bottles and fists flying everywhere. Somehow Super Taranta! seems to embody such a setting.
Gogol Bordello's fourth proper album could possibly incite some head cracking amongst their throngs of loyal fans when it comes to finding a bottom line to sum it up. So much is always going on, and so many transparent international influences (music of Eastern European and Gypsy descent, old Soviet era ditties, a splash of reggae and dub) wildly rear their heads, all blended with clobbering punk rock. The punk rock is still well engrained in Super Taranta! but it's toned down from Gogol's regular thrashing time signatures and guitar riffs, and tips its hat to singer Eugene Hutz's and some of his bandmates' formative years in America when they were playing multi-ethnic weddings in the melting pot sections of New York City. His voice is more chiseled and his foul mouth seems to have been washed out with a bit of soap. Gone are catchy lines like "Where posers and models with guitars boogie to the shit for beats/I make a better rock revolution alone with my dick!" from "60 Revolutions Per Minute" off of their previous effort, Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike. However, Hutz's wit is still intact on the gritty klezmer polka boogie "American Wedding," where he points out the differences in amenities at different marital receptions, asking, "Have you ever been to American wedding? Where is the vodka? Where's marinated herring?"
From the opening rowdy overture, "Ultimate," to the craggy sing-along "Wanderlust King," listeners who've seen the band live can, at every moment, envision all the members jumping and gallivanting around the stage like a hyperactive circus. The two members whose talents stand out the most on this album are violinist Sergey Ryabtsev and accordion player Yuri Lemeshev. Their skills combined are what bring the listener to a noisy, crowded market in a Roma neighborhood somewhere in Belarus or Connie Corleone's wedding at the beginning of The Godfather, where favors are being asked and the Dago Red is flowing like water. The production is spot on thanks in part to Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode) but with Super Taranta! it's the entire band's nonstop energy that matters the most.
JamBase | New Amsterdam
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