GOGOL BORDELLO play the Danforth Music Hall August 19 and 20. Rating: NNN
A long-time listener might be apprehensive about Gogol Bordello's sixth album, and there's a song title on Pura Vida Conspiracy that sums it up perfectly: Gypsy Auto Pilot. Nearly 15 years after they emerged on New York's Lower East Side, the Ukrainian Gypsy punks' signature mix of high-energy party rock with traditional Eastern European folk music has developed such a dedicated cult following (including Madonna), there's no real motivation for them to evolve beyond it.
It's true, Pura Vida isn't groundbreaking. But frontman Eugene Hütz has never stopped travelling (a philosophy trumpeted in the lyric "Borders are scars on the face of the planet"), gathering influences as he goes, and this album teems with the fruits of his recent immersion in Latin music. Pura Vida is more subdued (relatively speaking) than the group's usual celebratory style, but the album's best songs are still the most anthemic, the ones that sound the best alongside a hoisted, spilled beer.
Top track: We Rise Again