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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Tiles - 2008 Fly Paper
Tiles - 2008 Fly Paper

ALBUM: Fly Paper
LABEL: Inside Out/SPV
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Paul Rarick - vocals * Chris Herin - guitars, mandolin, keyboards * Jeff Whittle - bass * Mark Evans - drums, percussion

Guests: Alex Lifeson - guitar (Track 2) * Sonya Mastick - percussion * Nate Mills - vocals (Track 4) * Kim Mitchell - guitar (Track 6) * Alannah Myles - vocals (Track 3) * Matthew Parmenter - keyboards (Tracks 5 & 8), vocals (Track 7) * Hugh Syme - keyboards (Tracks 7 & 9)

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hide In My Shadow * 02 Sacred And Mundane * 03 Back And Forth * 04 Landscrape * 05 Markers * 06 Dragons, Dreams And Daring Deeds * 07 Crowded Emptiness * 08 Hide And Seek * 09 Passing Notes (Bonus)



Back in 2004 we threw the virtual pen at Tiles' fourth studio recording 'Window Dressing'. We noted all the Rush comparisons. Clever album titles combined with Hugh Syme like cover art. Terry Brown's involvement with the band (continuing here too I might add - with production duties), plus of course, all the Rush like musical comparisons - which for the most part might be considered a little unfair, but hey, when you live at the fountain of Xanadu it's inevitable that something similar will come out in the drink.. Progressive rock and the Motor City 'Detroit' to my way of thinking don't quite combine that well. Is it the oil and water thing? I don't know, but I always thought Prog was best heard coming out of British Cathedrals or small quaint villages in Norfolk or something. Whatever the case, Messrs Rarick, Herin, Whittle and now Evans (a previous member of Tiles I've been told), are doing their best to add another musical genre to come out of that fair city - other than MC5, Stevie Wonder plus all those other Motown cats and Bob Seger. Good luck to them. Firstly, gotta love the cover art. Very clever and witty. I wonder if Boeing will sit up and take notice? Secondly, eight tracks of tight unrelenting hard rock with a prog flavor - not the other way around. Big kudos for getting a name 'cast' of guests turning up to play. Good one Terry! Some Canadian heroes popped into the studio for some hang time, notably Alex Lifeson (Rush), Kim Mitchell and Alannah Myles.

The Songs
One gets the impression that Tiles are willing to experiment a bit more than perhaps they did in the past. I don't think they have to prove anything to anyone but themselves, and it's in the quality of the new songs that judgment will be passed. The band are fusing elements which made Rush, The Police and to a lesser degree Kings X so popular. Take the first two tracks for instance: 'Hide In My Shadow' and 'Sacred And Mundane'.. you can certainly hear Rush influences in there, but it isn't a Rush song per se. 'Sacred And Mundane' by virtue of Lifeson's appearance would automatically be guilty by association but on deeper inspection, again this is not the case.. the song much more complex and percussive than most. 'Back And Forth' has a jangly appeal while 'Landscrape' is a virtual pot-pourri of sound with a combination of angst, moodiness, confusion and brashness all combined in one. By contrast, 'Markers' is as soothing as a pot of Chamomile tea for the first part, though we do eventually gravitate to the Gin by songs end! Probably one of the album's most challenging tracks is 'Dragons, Dreams And Daring Deeds'. This song never seems to settle, it is always on the edge, the relentless back-beat of drums keep things ticking over. 'Crowded Emptiness' is the most commercial offering on the album, fusing acoustic parts to subtle layers of keyboards. 'Hide And Seek' finishes up the album. At eight and a half minutes, Tiles demonstrate their chops for all to see circa 2008. Remember back in 2004, they put a 17 minute epic as their opening track. Thankfully they've resisted such temptations this time around, and kept it to half the time, though no less interesting.

In Summary
At a whiff under 50 minutes, the whole album is easily digestible. With eight tracks only, there is no over-extension as one might expect from bands in this genre. To their credit, Tiles have kept this affair predominantly a guitar-based one, with no real over-use of keyboards. It's not stripped back to bare bones, but keys are used to supplement the sound rather than dominate. A pretty talented lot who have now been around since 1993.. fifteen years in the game and only five albums? What gives? This is looking remarkably like a case of Boston and Def Leppard like regularity of output.. haha.. just kidding.

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