By “Tampa Earl” Burton, Rock At Night Tampa
Music Review: Gogol Bordello’s Solidaritine – Release date September 16, 2022 via Casa Gogol/Cooking Vinyl
When it started, punk rock was a thumb in the eye to the establishment of “rock and roll.” Today, punk rock has become something that you see made into fashion statements at Hot Topic or Spencer’s. That itself is a bit saddening, until you hear from a band like Gogol Bordello and their efforts at creating a unique punk/ska sound on their upcoming album Solidaritine (due out on September 16), and your faith in punk rock is restored.
Led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Eugene Hütz, Gogol Bordello hail from Ukraine and the subject matter of Solidartine reflects how current situations in the country have impacted their creative forces. The song “Forces of Victory,” driven by a blast of acoustic guitars and violins (and yes…you can blast acoustic instruments with a frenetic playing style), demonstrates the fighting spirit of Ukrainians as they face the attacks on their homeland. Originally, the song had “a lot of things were unintentionally empty,” according to Hütz. After reapproaching the song earlier this year, Hütz said the lyrics “came to him in five seconds” and present an outstanding track that focuses on the power of the Ukrainian people.
One of my personal favorites from the CD was “Era of the End of Eras,” a rollicking tune from Gogol Bordello that states we are at the end of the eras, but it’s just beginning and to continue to fight. Gogol Bordello gets some help on the tune with a cameo from H.R. of the seminal U. S. punk band Bad Brains, who also added a snippet of the Bad Brains anthem “Sailin’ On” to the mix of the song.
Another highlight of the album is the song “Focus Coin.” In this tune, Hütz tells the listeners over powerful guitars that the listener’s own personal value is the most important currency in life. The music for the song skews heavily towards a ska beat, punctuated by unthrottled guitar work and stabbing lyrical content from Hütz.
A final thing that I liked about the CD was the factor that Hütz and the band didn’t hold to the traditional punk ethos of “short” songs. Most of the tunes on Solidaritine time out over three and a half minutes, with a few stretching into the four-minute realm. This was necessary, even for this punk band, to allow themselves to stretch out their instrumental talents while continuing to hold on to the punk rock mindset. Punk, ska, whatever you want to call it, is far from dead. Gogol Bordello is just one of the acts that keeps the flame burning, perhaps sparking a “new revival” of the genre for a new segment of listeners.
Solidartine was produced by hardcore legend Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Youth Of Today, Quicksand, Rival Schools).
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