For every copy of the Daily Mail sold, there is someone, somewhere, playing a Gogol Bordello record*. New track ‘Malandrino’ makes sure that the latter will continue to infuriate the former for as long as we have access to speakers and vocal chords capable of shouting.
Starting with the gentle pluck and strum of an acoustic guitar, Eugene Hütz leers in with “My birth I can hardly remember.” Syntax to the wind, folkloric yarns spinning and gravelly Ukrainian-English at full tilt, ‘Malandrino’ puts us firmly back in familiar Gogol territory. And, like the band’s 2010 album ‘Trans-Continental Hustle’, their new single is clearly inspired by the country Hütz has lived in since 2008. Brazil’s ‘Malandro’ (the diminutive and affectionate being ‘Malandrino’ from which the song gets its title) is an almost mythical anti-hero with the roguish charm of a hustling scoundrel, and the first-person tale Hütz is able to weave from him is a three minute thirty-three master-class in the romantic narrative turned exuberant musical voyage.
Admittedly, anyone coming to Gogol Bordello expecting a radical departure or evolution in their musical style might be let down. But for existing fans and anyone not already familiar with the band, this is yet another barnstorming classic to consolidate their own urban legend status. Complete with accordions, pinpoint fiddling and shanty-stomping gypsy-punk drums, ‘Malandrino’ justifies the chorus line, “I was born with singing heart,” every second of the way. And with lines like, “Crash Bash Bash! And Make Up Sex!” teamed up with a team of trumpets by the end, who could argue anything else? Turn it up loud, grab yer’ boots and enjoy.
*An assertion based on nothing other than idealism, hope and whimsy. No science was harmed in the making of this review.