alrighty, for this weekly review, we’re taking a look at punk band Gogol Bordello’s 2007 record, Super Taranta! now, i’m not a complete stranger to Gogol Bordello – i have heard a few singles here and there, and i even got a bit obsessed with Wonderlust King (on this record!) a year or so ago. that being said, i cant say ive ever sat down and dug into a full record of theirs, so lets do just that.

Ultimate kicks the record off with bombast – the strings and accordion here are great, and Eugene Hütz vocals are kinda iconic. i absolutely love the line “there were never any good old days / they are today. they are tomorrow”. absolutely fantastic. Wonderlust King follows it up and this track is a straight banger. huge fan, as i mentioned. Zina-Marina’s got a fantastic hook, and the little dub-y bridge is really neat. good track about exploitation. Supertheory of Supereverything is a fantastic track with a great sense of humor. i adore the little “pew” sound effect they use across this track, its great. Harem In Tuscany (Taranta) has a good vibe to it – a song about indulging in a bit (or a bunch) of pleasure. from my looking into it, Taranta was an Italian dance said to cure either the dancing plague, or madness? makes sense here with the narrator glimpsing a bit of what his uncle finds. Dub the Frequencies of Love is neat, bringing some of that dub influence to the forefront and addressing it a bit. it’s fun hearing that dub reverb applied to accordian a little bit. i know in interviews Hütz has talked about learning English from music and he views the songwriters he listened to as his uncles, in a kind of way, so My Strange Uncles from Abroad is a neat nod to his influences and those around the world that helped him grow. also, love the nod to those he’d be a strange uncle to, haha. Tribal Connection is a cool track about finding that desire for joy and celebration and fun all over, even in places where it’s being suppressed or kept down. really fun track. a lot of these tracks have been reflections on a journey taken, or more like conclusions, so its interesting to hear a track like Forces of Victory, which is a song still grappling with not finding what you’re looking for and the kind of despair of not having that kind of, well, Tribal Connection. the conclusion of the track though is hopeful – remembering the union of souls, “i can’t go on, i will go on”. its good shit, a real good message. Alcohol is a bittersweet kinda song, extremely nice. Suddenly… (I Miss Carpaty) brings back the Carpathians, Carpaty, where the narrator of the album last mentioned after discussing his uncle going to Tuscany in Harem In Tuscany (Taranta). a nod to missing that kind of hedonism from earlier in the record, of finding it at home but not abroad in the way he had in Forces of Victory. i wish some of the lyrics on this were more available online for translation – a lot of what i’m finding doesn’t quite seem to match whats actually happening in the song. Your Country is a fun track, love the bass and the vocal lines on this one. there’s a real internationalism on this record that i really appreciate – they even bring uo Tribal Connections here. American Wedding is a great track, easily one of my faves. the Taranta is back! i enjoy title tracks bringing up the end of a record, it feels like thematic closure, and it def feels that way here, dubbing this record “Super Taranta” as a kind of musical panacaea. given the thematic throughlines of spiritual dissastisfaction and alienation, and finding the cure for that in community and collaboration and celebration, it feels right. v good closer.

faves – Ultimate, Wonderlust King, Supertheory of Supereverything, My Strange Uncles from Abroad, Tribal Connection, American Wedding,
faves –

man this was a rowdy good time. musically, this was fantastic. i don’t have much complex to say about it, but i did enjoy most of it. some of the tracks in the back half feel like they could’ve gotten pruned a little for length but im not complaining and i wouldn’t be upset hearing those tracks live for sure.

thematically, man this was great. i loved stuff coming up again on other tracks (“tribal connection” coming up on Your Country, “supertheory” coming up on American Wedding, and Carpaty getting mentioned early and then used in Suddenly…). i mentioned a bit of the theming coming to a close on the title track at the end, but i really did appreciate this record as a complete package, and i really liked the rowdy approach to this. a nice reminder that people have more in common with each other than they have differences.

Super Taranta! – 8/10

the winner of this week’s suggestion pool is Frank Zappa’s 1974 album Apostrophe (‘), but we’ve got a slight change to programming. i’m getting married next Friday, Apr 15, so i won’t have a ton of time this week to be digging into the record – i’ll be back the following Friday, Apr 22 for a review, and in the meantime, let me know what album you’d like me to review! (i’m changing some of the process for this – i’m gonna be pooling all suggestions in one place, and drawing a person, then a pick from that person, so feel free to drop as many as you’d like! if you leave an email or username i’ll contact you when i’ve gotten through all your suggestions.)