First appeared on IGGY: May 02, 2011
Who else but this quartet of recent teenagers from Venezuela could take one of the oldest catch-phrases in punk rock history and infuse it with raw, anarchic urgency? La Vida Bohème’s “Radio Capital” throws pounding drums, angry guitars, angelic high notes, a hint of cowbell, and the Ramone’s 1977 “gabba gabba hey” into a restless, churning froth of sound that hurls you directly into the scene of a (peaceful) protest in Caracas, where you scream “Rise up!…But first, DANCE!!!”
Formed on a whim and a prayer in 2007, the band practiced in warehouses without electricity and wrote songs in parking lots, finally releasing their first album, Nuestra in May, 2011 to massive acclaim. With upbeat, exuberant, get-on-your-feet drumming that never stops, rampant cowbell (a hint in “Radio Capital” becomes a percussive blitz on “Danz!”), sing-along refrains, and paint-splattered outfits, La Vida Bohème brings the dance punk to the party in a giddy swirl of excitement.
But the tracks continue to broaden and deepen as the album rumbles along. By the fourth track, you’ve learned that lead singer Henry D’Arthenay has a beautiful voice, that drummer Sebastián Ayala lays a beat with metronomic precision, that this is more than just a dance punk band. There’s a burning intelligence and passion here. La Vida Boheme is a crafty exploration of rock’s vast, seamy underbelly, and a statement on the complexity of their home city, Caracas, where the youth have few rock ‘n roll options. Their fanbase even has a loaded nickname in this Chavez-era: “La Resistance.”
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