Sunday, November 7, 2010

November 7: Gogol Bordello, "Think Locally, Fuck Globally"

Artist: Gogol Bordello
Song: "Think Locally, Fuck Globally"
Album: Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike
Year: 2005

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Though they are extremely few and far between, there are a handful of bands that are so unique that their sound can only be accurately described by their own name.  Sounding unlike any other group in history, their music is often a combination of various styles that simply defies description on every level.  While some of these bands have begun movements of similar sounding groups, there are an elite few that are anomalies in the musical time-line, truly knowing no peers.  Standing as perhaps the finest example of this idea, though one can hear many of their influences, there is simply no way to provide a completely accurate description of the music of Gogol Bordello.  Somewhat punk rock, somewhat dub, somewhat gypsy, along with a host of other styles, they are without question one of the most explosive and mesmerizing bands on the planet today, and their combination of powerful music and often humorous lyrics make them nothing short of a musical phenomenon.  Bringing together all of these styles along with clear cultural differences, Gogol Bordello epitomizes the "melting pot" idea, and everything that makes their music so enamoring is on display throughout their 2005 release, Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike.  Showing off the bands' unmatched energy and sound, along with their tongue-in-cheek humor, there are no other songs in music history that bear even the slightest resemblance to Gogol Bordello's 2005 song, "Think Locally, Fuck Globally."

From the moment the song begins, the tone is set and it is clear that "Think Locally, Fuck Globally" will be unlike any other musical experience.  The fast paced guitar clearly draws from ska and dub, yet it has a dirty sound that is completely unique.  This riff serves as a fantastic lead-in, and it almost feels as if the band is rearing back before rushing forward with a complete assault as a single unit.  Yet it is in this moment that true brilliance of the band become clear, as they refuse to sacrifice the musical quality for intensity, and the violin from Sergey Ryabtsev and accordion from Yuri Lemeshev provide one of the most amazing core riffs in music history.  As the bass of Rea Mochiach and drums from Eliot Ferguson dance under the other instruments, one cannot help but become completely caught up in the sound, as the joy that is conveyed in the music is nothing short of overwhelming.  Yet it is also in this sound that one can hear the tense, almost dangerous mood that the band sets, as if they are ready to go off at any moment.  This intense feeling working with the almost restrained sound shows the high level of emotion each band member brings to "Think Locally, Fuck Globally," and it is in this thought that one can hear and feel slight sounds of Spanish influence, and the song seems to bounce from country to country, bringing out the best of each sound.  It is this international feeling that Gogol Bordello has perfected, and it is the key reason why their music is so extraordinary.

Serving as the emotional center of the music, vocalist and band founder Eugene Hütz shows at every moment what it means to be a truly mesmerizing performer.  Never holding anything back, there is no mistaking Hütz's voice, which much like the music has a dirty sound that is all his own.  It is this raw, clearly honest vocal approach that enables Hütz to quickly draw in the listener, and one cannot help but get caught up in his high energy battle cries, making the music of Gogol Bordello almost demand the listener to dance.  With his thick accent, Hütz also proves the universal language that is music, as even during moments when his words become a but lost within the complete piece that is the song, the sentiment and mood is never absent.  Furthermore, one can clearly tell that Hütz is enormously enjoying what he is singing, and anyone with a sense of humor can appreciate a song title like, ""Think Locally, Fuck Globally."  Perhaps tooting his own horn a bit, the group makes their mission clear as Hütz opens with the lines, "...I came to New York to start gypsy punk revolt, now that it's rockin' so why don't I just go home?"  It is within this lyric that one can find the bands' definition of the music they play, yet Hütz also shows his understanding of the fickle nature of the music business, as well as his sense of humor when he sings, "...and if the county we invented will fall from grace, I guess we'll have to fly away in our own space..."  With the gritty, almost greasy sound of Hütz singing, along with his grinning lyrics, there is simply no way to resist the musical party that is "Think Locally, Fuck Globally."

Throughout the music of Gogol Bordello, one can hear influences ranging as far as The Birthday Party, traditional gypsy folk music, and Bertold Brecht.  Now only in the instruments they use, but the way in which they convey their emotions, these sounds come together in brilliant fashion, and it is Gogol Bordello's unwillingness to sacrifice the beauty of music that makes them so fantastic.  Finding a unique way to ensure the musical structure remains intact, yet deploying some of the most high energy music in decades, the group can be seen as a more mature, more talented version of the punk rock movement.  The way in which the band takes this base of punk rock and fuses it together to create a sound that is often almost like flamenco music shows just how talented and learned they are in different types of music, that it is aspects like this that make the sound of Gogol Bordello truly impossible to define.  From the wild, bright accordion to the menacing guitars to the various percussion found throughout the track, "Think Locally, Fuck Globally" is one of the most irresistible musical celebrations ever committed to tape.  Topped off by one of the most unsubtle, yet somehow anthemic lyrics in recent years, the song in shows every reason why the band knows no peers and is without question one of the greatest and most enjoyable live acts on the planet.  Though each of their songs has its own unique and spectacular sound and feel, there is simply no other song in the Gogol Bordello catalog that represents the bands' sound as well as their 2005 song, "Think Locally, Fuck Globally."

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