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. The Harlequin was released as a combination 45 rpm 7" vinyl EP and CD, with the vinyl EP containing the first four tracks, "Bon Vivant," "Parallel Lives," "The Harlequin," and "Draculina," while the CD repeated them and added a fifth bonus track, "Love! Love! Love!"
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann