Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike (Cover Artwork)

Gogol Bordello

Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike (2005)


Not since Flogging Molly's Swagger have I heard a record this fun with this much depth. The comparison is apt, because at their base, Gogol Bordello is to gypsy folk what Flogging Molly is to Celtic folk: punked-up and revved up. Seeing them on any label other than SideOneDummy would seem idiotic.

Homes aside, Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike is a record filled to the brim with fun, heart, and booze. Like the best thoughtful punk bands, be it the Clash or Dillinger 4, they know how to walk the tightrope between making you think and making you dance. Gogol Bordello have just the added advantage of violins, accordions, and I don't know how many different percussionists, but it sure does sound like a lot. There's also a slew of ska and reggae sounds (complete with toasting) thrown in to ensure the novelty of gypsy punk doesn't wear thin.

But Gogol Bordello's biggest strength is Eugene Hutz's songs. The songwriter and frontman writes from the heart and sings from the gut. He can be completely off-key and his accent borders on comical. Yet, his songs are completely moving and the band molds them each into completely unique works.

With its playing time drifting slightly over an hour, Gypsy Punks can seem like quite the task to get through on the first sitting. But the album's interplay between ballads and rockers, folk and punk, stories and slogans that are enough to pique interest for repeated listenings. Instant classic? Maybe.