Gogol Bordello's Seekers and Finders just sounds tired
- Niki Boyle
- 29 August 2017
Trademark gypsy punk fails to ignite on tenth studio album
Gogol Bordello's breakthrough in 2005 can be at least partially attributed to their appearance on that year's Warped Tour compilation. Drunkenly making elbow room among the likes of Fall Out Boy, Plain White T's and Dropkick Murphys (the latter the closest thing they had to kindred spirits on the LP), 'Start Wearing Purple' was (and is) a rambunctious singalong that flew the flag for swaggering individualism over identikit emo whining. The album from whence it came – Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike – and the 2007 follow-up, Super Taranta!, cemented their reputation as boisterous, globe-straddling party-starters.
In the decade or so since, at least one of two things has happened: I grew out of punk, and Gogol Bordello stopped having fun. That unhinged quality that defined 'Start Wearing Purple' (and turned heartbreakingly remorseful on Super Taranta!'s 'Alcohol') is barely in evidence on latest release Seekers and Finders, a collection of country-and-western-tinged plodders that lack excitement or verve. A lively fiddle-driven intro on opener 'Did it All' gives way to a turgid chorus and a middle-eight that rhymes 'mojo' with 'juju'. 'Love Gangsters' is the surf-rocky interlude when the moshpit empties to the bar. 'Clearvoyance' is called 'Clearvoyance'. And so on.
There are a few glimmers of GB's previously boundless energy. 'Familia Bonfireball', one of only two songs to top four minutes, takes its sweet time to ignite, but it's fun and bouncy when it finally gets there. 'If I Ever Get Home Before Dark' has Cold War Kids-ian soul, with vocalist Eugene Hutz indulging in believably earthy specifics ('I will sink my fingers in your hair') instead of the cod-philosophical nonsense elsewhere on the album ('Not all horses are gonna need blinders / not all seekers will be finders'). Still, even if it's me that got old, Gogol Bordello are the ones that sound tired.
Out now via Cooking Vinyl