Those devoted enough to buy the compact disc version of Gogol Bordello's new album, "Pura Vida Conspiracy," in order to parse singer Eugene Hutz's lyrics will notice a typographical choice that captures the band's essence. The lyrics to their dozen-song album are WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS.
It's as if Hutz, the Ukrainian-born singer and bon vivant whose legendary vocal urgency has thrilled the festival circuit for nearly 15 years, wanted you to even more fully absorb the importance of the message.
Hutz is nothing if not a Type-A personality, one who barrels his way through "Pura Vida Conspiracy" with joyous abandon. This isn't news: He and his traveling, multiethnic band of accordion, brass, guitar and percussion aces have long traded in musical exclamation points.
"Pure Vida," though, overwhelms as often as it inspires. Like a boisterous, long-winded guest taking over a dinner party, the tone, righteous though it may be, suggests someone who needs to be pulled aside and asked to take it down a notch or five.
Granted, the band is at its best when laying it on thick, and taken one by one, "Pura Vida Conspiracy" has its share of gung-ho anthems. "Dig Deep Enough" could score an awesome NFL highlight reel and "Hieroglyph" is sonically surprising and super sticky. But it's the outlier, and only proves the point: The more one communicates with all-cap enthusiasm, THE LESS PALATABLE the message can become. (Unless you're Andrew W.K.)
"Pura Vida Conspiracy"
1.5 starsCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun