Larry de Kat has put out music on SlapFunk, a hard-hitting Dutch house label that could even appeal to techno purists, but listeners won't find anything close to that sound on his latest EP, Un Olandese a Milano. A different Larry de Kat is on display here — actually, three different Larry de Kats are, and with mixed results.
There's the Larry de Kat of "Sprookjesbos" and "Lanero Voleva Una Hit," both of which favour synth disco in the vein of Morgan Geist. It's done well: "Sprookjesbos" achieves a nice balance of bouncy boogie bass and squelching high ends, while the masterful synth work on "Lanero Voleva Una Hit" is memorable.
Then, there's the jazzy, downtempo Larry de Kat, the one behind half of the six-song EP. On "Do For Love," vocalist Juno croons lyrics from Bobby Caldwell's 1978 disco-soul hit "What You Won't Do For Love" over half-time garage; it verges on lounge music, but the sub bass keeps it on track. "So Damn Fine" and "Enjoy Losin'" would have been decent backpacker beats, but each is marred by scat-like vocals. An apparent Jamiroquai impersonation on the latter is particularly grating.
The Larry de Kat who conceived "Se Lo," finally, would've been best left off the record. "Se Lo" sounds like a Nelly Furtado-fronted nu-disco track performed by a third-wave ska band from Orange County.
Alone, the disco tracks could have made for an exciting late-summer release date, so Un Olandese a Milano's September release will frustrate. Two for six isn't a great success ratio, but the best of this record makes Larry de Kat an artist worth watching for more from, as long as he doesn't pursue the "Se Lo" sound further. (Katnip Records)