Ilya

Poise Is the Greater Architect (Second Nature)

The great horror movies aren't about the gore. Rather, they linger in the mind, creep into your thoughts, spook your waking hours. Ilya has similarly subtle aims on its full-length debut; the group's deceptively soothing trip-hop is both lovely and menacing.

Poise Is the Greater Architecthas the consistency of a bad dream: mysterious, inexplicable, troubling. Vocalist Blanca Rojas doesn't enunciate her lyrics; instead, she evokes a mood, and the mood isn't sunny. Incorporating piano and haunting vibes, tracks like "I Want to Know" explicate our subconscious fears and desires without nailing down specifics. Interested in more than down-tempo chill-out music, the group sprinkles darker intentions throughout even the most languid songs. Who, for instance, could miss the nameless dread that you feel when the album-closing "Guilty Kisses" shuffles off toward deathly uncertainty?

Pop music is rarely thought of as scary, and when it is, we're probably just referring to the schlock-rock histrionics of Marilyn Manson -- overheated theatrics meant for cheap shock value. (They're as cheesy as slasher movies in that way.) With elegance and high craft, Poise Is the Greater Architect cunningly chills your blood with its pretty melancholy. Its songs are like spells. Sometimes the iciest terrors are the ones you don't see coming.

 
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