La Scala – The Harlequin EP
High Wheel, 2008
Acquired: KJHK Music Staff, New, 2008
High Wheel Records’ website states that La Scala has an “old world sense of melody,” which means that they make their guitars sound like Balkan instruments. It also means that they are basically following the path Devotchka already paved and also attempting to lure in some fans of Gogol Bordello. This is the sort of music that sounds like it is in dire need of an accordion. I don’t think it’s a conscious attempt to cash in on the Balkan Buzz of the late 00s, and it’s hard for me to trash talk a Chicago band because us Midwest folk gotta stick together in a progressively East Coast world. La Scala lack spark and unfortunately have the sound of an opening band you really don’t want to sit through. It’s not bad, just not terribly interesting. The band incorporates Eastern European sounding melodies but none of the actual Eastern European instruments. Ultimately, the tracks sound like the bland modern rock of, say, Silversun Pickups. Ok, better than fucking Silversun Pickups. There’s a gothy, quasi horror-pop vibe on the last track (“Draculina”) that illustrates the band’s obsession with “nefarious areas” and “dark corners” of Chicago listed on their website bio. Mostly, this 7” just puts the whole world of music into perspective, because we got TONS of 7”s and CDs that had this sound. Not bad, just not really enough for you to sink your teeth into.