After a cinematic opener, acts of rebellion hits the ground running with the standout track, “They told us it was hard, but they were wrong”. The extended version of the track goes beyond six minutes and fully showcases Ela’s talent in sound design and knack for creative textures and rewarding crescendos. Its propulsive beat will undoubtedly send listeners into a dance hypnosis. =
From there, the album continues a three-track run of fantastic lead singles. The bass on “el cielo no es de nadie” is the heaviest and most hard-hitting track on the record. Mixed with catchy synth melodies and deep hums that have more swagger and punk attitude than Kid Cudi could ever dream of. “Megapunk”, her most listened to song on Spotify, is the brightest moment on the album sonically. Shimmering with even more colorful synths it will easily have Top 40 Listeners asking “who is this?”, despite Ela’s signature dizzying dance beat and hushed vocal refrains.
“Pocket Piano” follows and lives up to the name with a cute melody and a youthful, but engaging synth in the background. This is one of four pieces that are more meditative and ambient focused (including the intro) that act as an interlude of sorts. Some of these tracks are stronger than others, like the blissful static of “Let Them Have The Internet”, one of the most gorgeous and compelling moments on the record. However, this beauty of this song is surrounded by tracks with varied success in the back end of the record.
The 2nd half of the record starts off with another single, “Dominique”, and sonically, it picks up right where “Megapunk” left off. It’s a true lockdown banger synonymous with the anxiety surrounding the COVID world we live in. The contrast of the music and the lyrics such as “I am afraid I forgot how to talk/
To anyone else that's not myself” come off as humorous and surprisingly tasteful. By the time “Tony” hits, however, the constant bass, minimal synth notes, and whispered vocals could be an overkill. Thankfully those shocking and blaring horns that pop up are definitely a redeeming quality of the track that pushes a sense of urgency, keeping the track from being skippable.
On the other hand, “Do whatever you want all the time” is a downtempo bore. The placement of the song is a shame too, as it loses the album’s momentum before the heartwarming closer featuring Helado Negro. There is a lot of chemistry between these Colombian-born artists, as they’ve worked together in the past, but unfortunately, the performances lack the emotional potency desired of a true standout track.
And that’s the record. 10 tracks, a few of them taking the place as interludes, coming in at well under 40 minutes. All in all, acts of rebellion leaves room for improvement. The highlights do sound similar, and Ela’s half spoken, half sung vocals can only go so far. With that being said, there are undeniably moments of excellence. The album does an amazing job at dishing out techno-influenced, alternative dance bangers, with a punk flair, and enough room to breathe in between. Due to the short run time, the album is an extremely fun and invigorating listen that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. The irrefutable kinetic energy throughout the record captures the feeling of comradeship and freedom that we all so greatly miss on the dance floor in 2020. It feels like a time capsule where we can escape our worries, and dance like there’s no tomorrow. Or as Ela would say, its bright music for dark times.
It’s a hell of a debut, and it’ll be exciting to see what she does next.