La Vida Boheme Rocks Caracas
La Vida Boheme’s US debut LP Nuestra (or “our”) begins with “Radio Capital”, a fun, candy dance punk track with chant-singing and traces of Mexico’s Vicente Gayo and El Cuarto. But as it turns out, “Radio Capital” is the exception for this rising Venezuelan quartet — not the rule.
The tracks continue to broaden and deepen as the album rumbles along. “El Buen Salvaje” has a raw blues rock motif, likening them to a wall-of-sound White Stripes. By the fourth track, you’ve learned that lead singer Henry D’Arthenay has a beautiful voice, and that carefully-plotted vocal harmonies are more pervasive than you thought. Later, they show off some pretty, melodic indie rock know-how through the standard reverb/tom-tom equation, hurling their talent into the tiers of Phoenix, The Shout Out Louds, and Wolf Parade. Electronics make a few cameos, mostly on the anarchical instrumental self-titled track, which pits fuzz, glitch, and rock ‘n’ roll into a fiery battle.
So, while the upbeat, get on your feet The Gossip drumming never stops, this is more than just a dance punk album. It’s a crafty exploration of rock’s vast, dirty underbelly, and a statement on the complexity of their home city, Caracas. D’Artheny said it best:
“I think every song we made for Nuestra is due to the fact that Caracas, and its havoc, is now as much part of us as our blood. The feeling that you get when you get to Caracas is that of a fallen empire: beautiful buildings torn apart, immense highways full of holes, a million lights by night are in fact a million slums in daylight. Streets that are made for walking are more often used for hiding or running. But we still love our city tremendously. People in Caracas are beyond real. We might distrust our surroundings but we are warm at heart, you can tell that on any night out on the town.”
Caracas is certainly noticing, too. The band has garnered so much hometown support that the fanbase has its very own name: “La Resistance” – a not-too-subtle banner in the face of Hugo Chavez.
La Vida Boheme
[May 10, 2011; Nacional Records]
Pre-order on Amazon.com
Photo Credit: Nacional Records