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ALBUM REVIEW - GOGOL BORDELLO, SOLIDARITINE

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I can vividly remember the first time I ever heard Gogol Bordello. If memory serves me, they opened for System of a Down on May 24th, 2011 at The Forum in LA and that opening set was my first taste of the 'Gypsy Punk' genre (and most certainly was not the last).  Prior to the show, I questioned why a relatively unknown band like this might be opening for SOAD (arguably one of the biggest bands on the planet).  When the dust settled, I had my answer.  Gogol Bordello's music was simple in message yet powerful in presentation.  As Eugene Hutz to this day still proclaims, "This is music of survival and perseverance.  That's always been our main driving force."  Looking back on that show many years later, I now understand why they were chosen as System's opener, and have a much deeper appreciation for Gogol Bordello and their music over the years.  Fast forward to September 16th, 2022 (which coincidentally my wife's birthday), and we are blessed with another release from one of the most killer bands on the planet today.  Its great to see Gogol Bordello sticking to their roots with their 9th full-length release, SOLIDARITINE.

The first thing I wanted to call out about SOLIDARITINE (contrary to popular belief) is that this album is NOT a bunch of leftover songs unpublished from 2017's Seekers and Finders.  While I can understand why some might think that (based on some of the themes that present across both albums), one could argue that point across Gogol's entire 20+ year discography simply based on what the band stands for and their consistent messaging over that period of time. I honestly think that's where folks get hung up, because that's the status quo for most bands today - a focus on conforming to what is popular and / or what generates the most amount of money.  Gogol Bordello is not that type of band and have stayed true to their core messaging and beliefs since 1999. That's why they are special and a cut above the rest.

That said, SOLIDARITINE is composed of 13 exciting tracks that pull from the old and integrate the new into one incredible release that will invigorate and inspire even the pickiest of fans.  Produced by underground legend Walter Schreifels, in partnership with Gogol Bordello, they collectively pulled out all the stops to create a sonically amazing release that I consider one of their best since 2010's Trans-Continental Hustle.  As Walter puts it, "The album is really about uniting the people of goodwill,” he reveals. In addition, “Releasing any kind of art that doesn’t address the situation in Ukraine right now would be pretty despicable.”  And its clear that their time together in studio allowed the creative juices to flow, culminating with an album "Rife with the insurgent sound of survival".  And isn't that what you would come to expect in a a Gogol Bordello release?

Now on to the tracks themself.  Upon first listen, I immediately noticed the familiar Gogol sound and energy I've grown to know and love over the years.  From the initial salvo of "Shot of Solidaritine" to the the final curtail call of "Huckleberry Generation", this release has something for everybody (and I mean everyone).  While I can see "Focus Coin" being a fan favorite live, I really dug tracks like "Forces of Victory", "Take What You Can Carry" (Featuring KAZKA) and "Gut Guidance". The entire album is packed with powerful messaging, incredible energy, and an authenticity that sets this band (and release) apart from the pack.  If you are looking for a new album that will engage your senses while questioning current reality, look no further than SOLIDARITINE.  Gogol Bordello's high-energy juggernaut checks off all the boxes for me and seems to get better with each and every spin.  It's definitely one of my top-5 favorite releases in 2022 and frankly its not even close. 

For more information on Gogol Bordello and their latest release, SOLIDARITINE, click HERE.

Matthew Belter

Editor - Long Beach

Website: iceboxphoto.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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