Being busy breeds fecundity, and the cover image on Ilya's debut, Poise is the Greater Architect -- a girl cupping a small bundle of eggs in the bottom of her dress -- is a blatant symbol of fertility. Such cover art creates the expectation that the band will be fertile with ideas, and at six members strong, it'd damn well better have a surplus of them. Not to worry, though; each member brings plenty to the table. Singer Blanca Rojas's voice is at once both crystalline and sultry -- an odd clash of innocence and experience -- as she delivers lamenting lyrics with stylish conviction. Geoff Hill's drumming, whether he's gently brushing a jazz inflection or forcefully driving a rock rhythm, remains smart and determined. The bassist, John Mattos, builds dense yet fluid structures on which guitarists/keyboardists Hank Morton and Matthew Baker hang their dark and delicate atmospherics. Duane Pitre, ex-Camera Obscura guitarist and former professional skateboarder, is fond of using a bow on his guitar, creating cascading sheets of noise. Collectively, the band members work together to form an elegant blend of cool ambiance, silken pop and alluring trip-hop with a dark yet reassuring tint.
As the past two St. Louis shows have evidenced, Ilya is not to be missed. Third try's a charm, and you have another chance to see the six of them cram onto the tiny Rocket Bar stage and birth another spectacular performance.