EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED: Illumina, Johnny Brendas, December 1, 2006 [FLICKR]
EVA SAYS: Whenever I see Illumina, I like to imagine myself up there with them, jumping, dancing, and harmonizing all the live-long day. If only I could play an instrument, the cowbell even, maybe I could aim to be half as cool as these guys. Their whole LET’S START A BAND rockchestra steez is irresistibly fun — what with the cute Asian keyboardist, singing all cute and Asian-like, a small string section demurely rocking out and some crazy drummer in the back blowing on a whistle so sincerely you’re reminded of a ’90s raver three sheets of Ecstasy to the wind. But with eight members and perhaps twice as many instruments, a room as small as Johnny Brendas can make the band sound like a cake with one too many layers. Their attempt to challenge such idealistic ambitions require them much more room to wail. But overall, the result of seeing local bands with real talent is always a refreshing relief, and it doesn’t hurt when they all happen to be really, really good lookin’. B+?