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Wednesday, September 17, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 40.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Paper
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Gogol Bordello: Trans-Continental Hustle
(American)
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Globetrotting gypsy-punks Gogol Bordello tend to exude eclecticism and eccentricity in equal measure, fusing fiery flamencos and raucous Romany folk music with punk-rock flair and a smattering of old-country instruments. But while their major-label debut, Trans-Continental Hustle, is wonderfully weird and world-spanning, the oddities get downplayed a bit, perhaps to endear the band to an even wider audience.

Though the album's first track, "Pala Tute," fuses many ethnic traditions - polka, klezmer and a few Motown-esque vocal harmonies - with an abundance of energy, the band's boisterous chutzpah doesn't appear until the second track, "My Companjera," in which frontman Eugene Hutz unleashes his ornamented growl, and the instrumentalists shift the tempo into overdrive. Instead of taking the party to warp speed on the third track, the band slows things down with a sultry groove, sounding more like Beirut than a posse of punks. Thankfully, they rediscover their rabblerousing identity on the next track, "Rebellious Love," and remember who they are for the rest of the album, with pirate-punk chants, feverish fiddling and the most badass accordion playing this side of the Atlantic.

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