The previous album by this motley crew of Brooklyn-resident immigrants was called “Gypsy Punks.” It’s a good description of the music, but the generic-sounding title may have also fooled people into thinking it was some kind of anthropological exercise.
As such it would have failed to prepare the listener for the sophistication of Eugene Hutz’s fractured-English diatribes and the musicians’ colorful blend of divergent ethnic styles, which sounds anything but academic and “Old World.” As Hutz points out in “Ultimate,” he sees little use in dwelling on the past. A Ukrainian who came to the United States after escaping the poisonous cloud of Chernobyl, and whose status as a stranger in a strange land makes his existence always dependent on circumstance, Hutz acutely feels the joy of making music in the here-and-now. That’s why he and his fellow travelers (Russian, Israeli, Ethiopian) kick up such a mighty but disciplined racket.
Like good Gypsies they know how to get a wedding party jumping, and like good punks they understand that speed means nothing without clarity, concision and melodies you can sing along with at the top of your lungs while dancing like there’s no tomorrow.