13 September 2017

Gogol Bordello - Seekers and Finders

Is this really their seventh album?  That proves how much attention I have been paying to Gogol Bordello’s studio output, but there is a reason for that one.  For me, Gogol Bordello work best in the live arena, their shows are so much fun and everything feels like sunshine and the good times just keep on rolling, sort of like the Dropkick Murphys.  However, their studio output has always felt restrained in comparison, as if the songs need to be set free and allowed to run wild.  I am hoping that this has changed since I last listened to their studio work, let us find out…...

01 – Did It All

“Did It All” is an energetic opening to this album, one that is designed for the live environment, to get the crowd warmed up and dancing around.  It is full of fast pace section and sing-along choruses.  To be honest, whilst I can appreciate it and see the craftmanship of the song, it sorts of leaves me a little cold and disengaged.  But it is something I can imagine to be fun at their shows.

02 – Walking on Burning Coal

Gogol Bordello slow everything down on “Walking on Burning Coal”, a tale of apprehension and emotional pain.  It is in keeping with their back catalogue and it has a good chorus once again.  But I find myself once again wishing I was watching the band perform this live, it is just the best place to hear their work and this song is another number that feels trapped.

03 – Break into Your Higher Self

A song about the spiritual world and how it can be obtained within and not via religious channels, it is back on the faster pace, frantic style which is similar to “Did It All”.  I have a feeling that I will be like a broken record here, but this song is one that I would have loved to have heard at their show.  It feels like a caged animal when it is committed to tape and I take no pleasure in saying that, I know this will be a brilliant song to see live!

04 – Seekers and Finders

We find Gogol Bordello in reflective mood on this one, with a ballad (for want of a better word) which looks at the part which we play in the world, pondering how sometimes you can look for things and never find them.  It is a tale about your place in life and how to cope with it, but this one is the first to fall flat for me.  It just feels sorts of lifeless for me, which is a shame to be honest.

05 – Familia Bonfireball

It is a similar case with “Familia Bonfireball”, which follows a similar pattern was “Seekers and Finders” but it is looking at the families that we all create ourselves.  But I am once again disconnected from this song, but appreciating the effort behind the music. 

06 – Clearvoyance

A song about not having attachments to anywhere and moving on from place to place, a slow and peaceful number that will make people sway in unison.  This is a strange number for me, it feels like a love song but without any love being mentioned.  I suppose it is an ode to the love of travelling maybe?  Who knows, but it is an ok song that doesn’t make my world explode, but it does not displease either.

07 – Saboteur Blues

We are back with a fast-pace with “Saboteur Blues”, a song about the state of the world and they are seeing painful times in our future.  It is one of the better numbers on the album, one which will be a jewel in their live shows supporting this album as it is full of drama, pounding drums and a sense of humour in these dark times.  However, once again I am dreaming about the live show instead of gaining attachment whilst I am listening to the studio version, it really is a shame.

08 – Love Gangsters

With a slight ska feeling to the bass, “Love Gangsters” drifts by me to be honest.  The pace is neither fast or slow, it is disjointed and the song never really gains traction.  It is not a bad number, but I am not feeling this one at all.

09 – If I Ever Get Home Before Dark

Now for a band I love in the live environment, I also enjoy it when they are strange and bizarre.  They do not get more bizarre on this album than they do with “If I Ever Get Home Before Dark”, as they discuss the yearning to be home with a lover instead of being away from the homestead.  The song goes between quite verses and strange explosions of sound every now and then.  It is the one song on the album which transcends the studio, a true gem on this album.

10 – You Know Who We Are (Uprooted Funk)

You Know Who We Are (Uprooted Funk)” is another song that once again will make much more sense at their gigs, I really wish this was not the norm on this album.  It is an energetic number, one about the gypsy life and how it is for them, but the song feels as if it also needs to be set free as well.

11 – Still That Way

The album ends on a sing-along number to throw your hands around your friends’ shoulders, for singing out your lungs and parting as friends till the next time.   It is similar to a lot of other songs which band make, one that have an emotive centre and it will make the house lights rise as everyone heads for the door.  It is well written, I would never say otherwise, but it is also a song that needs to be heard live, one which I know will flourish in its correct setting.

As is always the case with Gogol Bordello in my experience, their music does not quite transfer over to the studio and give that same buzz that you get from their live shows.  It is a little too contained and these guys are musical mavericks, which leads to a slight subdue experience for music that should give thrills, spills and good times.  But whilst I am not a fan of their studio output, I still appreciate them as a live act and the amount of energy they put into making their music.  There is also a few too many slower numbers in the middle of the album, but I do not think that more livelier numbers would have changed my opinion.  One day I am sure it will all come together, but until then I will keep to their live shows.

5 out of ten - Not for everyone, but played well.

Top track – If I Ever Get Home Before Dark

You can purchase Seekers and Finders on Amazon here.

You can visit the Gogol Bordello website here.

You can follow the activities of Gogol Bordello on Facebook here.

You can stream Seekers and Finders on Spotify here.

You can stream Seekers and Finders on Deezer here.

You can stream Seekers and Finders on Tidal here.

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