My first Gogol Bordello album was the band's sophomore release, Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony. And because my obsession with the raucous gypsy punk collective from New York City's Lower East Side rests first and foremost on that release, it's difficult to listen to any other Gogol Bordello album with the same kind of embrace. It's like going to your favorite restaurant and—though you want to be adventurous—ordering the same tried-and-true chicken curry you know will never, ever disappoint.
Well, I've changed my mind. Or I've found an equal favorite. Trans-Continental Hustle, the group's fifth release, is classic Gogol Bordello with its mishmash of Ukranian and English lyrics, flamboyant accordion, yearning fiddle and the gritty, unrestrained charisma of lead singer Eugene Hütz. Songs like "My Companjera" have rough-edged harmonies and wonderfully desperate gang vocals. In "Uma Menina" the surreal call-and-response shows how the band takes nonsensical ideas to the most serious levels. And it all feels deliciously radical, like in "Immigraniada" where Hütz lyrically flips off anti-immigration policy with, "To hell with your double standard. We're comin' rougher every time."
Even with all the same elements and, dare I say, gimmicks, it's an album full of entirely fresh songs. Instant crush.