The Harlequin


7" vinyl and CD are sold together

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La Scala
  1. Bon Vivant
  2. Parallel Lives
  3. The Harlequin
  4. Draculina
  5. Love!Love!Love! (CD only)

Produced by Balthazar de Ley
Engineered by Balthazar de Ley & Neil Strauch
Mixed by Brian Deck
Recorded at Engine Studios, Chicago

Mastered by Stephen Marsh
Radio Recorders Studio
Los Angeles, CA

"Sounds like a nice strange mix of stellastarr* and Gogol Bordello."

"La Scala, Balthazar de Ley's next band project after Menthol and Hum, gets started with this energetic EP, which finds the domineering singer fighting for power over a driving gypsy band propelled by the rhythm section of Ryan Jewell and Josh Lohr, and the tremolo-laden twangy guitar playing of Kirk McMahon. De Ley has the gift of gab in lyrics that run on and on with no discernible meaning. ("Bon Vivant," the leadoff track, begins like this: "When love cries at you like the call of the wild, and adrenaline fills your very soul with desire, when lovers' eyes bat eyelashes like telegraphs gone wild, announcing every child you will sire. But with chemicals procured from some cartel who killed ten men in just one day so you could pay to put this veil before your gaze, ensconced in some inebriated phase, with no clear way out of this haze." Huh?) But he sings them as if they meant something, something important, in fact, and that's enough, really, especially with the music crashing along behind him. La Scala is a band with attitude, and listeners are likely to sit up and take notice if the rest of their music is as compelling as this brief taste."
"La Scala is a somewhat new local band that plays driving songs that are melancholy without being depressing."
"This Chicago combo is new about town, but does include ex-Menthol and Hum member Balthazar de Ley as well as drummer Josh Lohr of the short-lived but impressive Dirty Things, so it isn’t too much of a surprise that the songs on The Harlequin, La Scala’s debut, come out of the box fully formed. The sound here is another take on the sweet spot between the Thin White Duke affectations of de Ley on lead vocal and the band’s tightly-wound, new wave and new-new wave-inspired instrumentation. There are probably 500 bands trying to figure out how to dethrone the Killers, but there’s no reason why La Scala shouldn’t, especially since there’s such a charming arrogance to tracks like “Bon Vivant” and the title cut. “Should I ask you sweetly or indiscreetly,” de Ley deadpans on “Harlequin,” and the guitar chimes in an amplified approximation of harpsichord music — you can just see him holding out a bejeweled hand to some velvet-bustied ice queen in the high concept video they’ve almost certainly storyboarded already."
"LA SCALA is releasing a four-song EP, The Harlequin, by this energetic and buzzy local quartet, on both seven-inch and CD. The band's sound sheathes a core of shameless New Romantic-grade Bowie worship in retro-Euro duende that reeks of Serge Gainsbourg's cigarette ash. Why does this mix work so well for them? Mainly because they rock: they leave in the melodic melancholy of cafe music while cutting out nearly all that draggy ennui."
"The dilettantes in La Scala dress like Sicilian intellectuals and drape a similar style over smokey new wave, garnished with a touch of the Gypsy."