Gogol Bordello, "Trans-Continental Hustle"
With the help of heavyweight producer Rick Rubin, Gogol Bordello's major-label debut, "Trans-Continental Hustle," maintains the band's ethno-clash dance party reputation, but with less punk attitude and a more mainstream songwriting approach. Wild, passionate opener "Pala Tune"-a gypsy folk tune translated into English-features galloping acoustic guitars among fiery accordion and fiddle runs, but displays a controlled energy that differs from the group's usual unbridled madness. The album takes a breather on "Sun Is On My Side," where frontman Eugene Hütz's coarse vocals are countered by graceful acoustic guitar and sighing accordion. "Imigraniada (We Comin' Rougher)" is reminiscent of Gogol Bordello's familiar punk edge, but contains a lighter sound that replaces the distortion found on the band's 2007 album, "Super Taranta!" Even so, the song rages with slamming drums, thrashing guitars and fiddle riffs worthy of Slayer. But Rubin ensures that the sounds blend well together in a tight arrangement. -Ilya Skripnikov