Calling weirdo-euro-rock Gogol Bordello a one-trick pony might be accurate, as long as you understand that this is one ass-kicking pony. It’s the contradictions—deceptively smart lyrics posing as stupid, electric guitars hiding accordions, self-parody hiding self-empowerment—that make Gogol Bordello hard to peg as a gimmick, and impossible to resist. Yes, their second album is Ukrainian frontman Eugene Hütz once again yelling out odd things to gypsy rock guitars, but his thick-as-borscht accent screaming “There were never any good ol’ days / they are today, they are tomorrow!” on the first track makes what would otherwise be a hokey sentiment into a raucous good time. Super Taranta! may not be anything ground-breaking from these guys, but hey, if it ain’t broke, etc.
Plus, the music rocks. There’s not a dull song on the album: it’s jam-packed with jams, sardine-tinned with tinned sardines, pepper-pailed with pickled peppers. There’s something danceable on every song, and if you could do that high-kicking dance thing you totally would. It’s both funny and intense, a mix very difficult to master (Electric Six manages also, but with far less creativity). Like the lyrics on “American Wedding”: “Have you ever been to American wedding? Where is the vodka? Where is marinated herring?” Stories of crazy uncles abound, romantic airports, plenty of ethnocentrism and lots of alcohol. (“You know that I’ll pick up, every time you call, just to thank you one more time… alcohol.”) The title track “Super Taranta!” may be hippest use of a fiddle since “Turceasca.” It’s a sustained six-minute yell-and-clap fest liable to get even the most Anglo-Saxon of listeners to bop about in their seats.
“Nothing gets these bitches going, not even Gypsy Kings,” he proclaims later on in “American Wedding.” It’s a viable observation of American culture, and one that Gogol Bordello hopes to remedy. Surely, if this shit can’t get these bitches going, nothing will.