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On disc: Tiles

- Fly Paper - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars

Fly Paper

Fly Paper
(InsideOut Music - 2008)

The band Tiles was founded back in 1993 in the Motor City - in Detroit. Their debut Tiles was released in 1994 and now in 2008 they present their 5th studio album Fly Paper. Window Dressing was their last studio album released in 2004 and produced, engineered and mixed by former Rush producer Terry Brown. And again Terry Brown took over the production.
The cover artwork is done by Hugh Syme - who also added some keyboards at Crowded Emptiness as he did on some Rush songs in the past -, but Syme is best known for his cover artwork. He did covers e.g for Rush, Def Leppard (Retro Active), Aerosmith (Get A Grip), Megadeth (Youthanasia, Countdown To Extinction), Warrant (Cherry Pie) and Iron Maiden (The X-Factor). The lyrics are about the vulnerability of human beings in one way or another. The cover artwork is dark and shows a paper plane over NYC which is reflecting the threat of a plane to the city like on 9/11. And as the paper plane is made of a newspaper it kinda shows the threat of written words... And both can hurt.
But its about the music... In the past the bands description of their music as a combination of Rush, Jethro Tull, Queensrÿche and Iron Maiden fitted well. These days it's more progressive hard rock / metal - and reminiscences to Iron Maiden can hardly be found. On Fly Paper the focus is on the song with heavy guitars and less keyboards. The opening track is called Hide In My Shadow and shows the complexity of their sound, but also a catchy hook. The song is guitar-driven and quite heavy. Singer Paul Rarick sounds partly a bit weary... world-weary... Like there is also a spark of hope... Especially when they weave in some circus music - even if just for a moment. On Sacred And Mundane the songs lead in reminds me of something... But I can grasp it. Another heavy one with a 70's feeling, similarities to Rush and on guitar Alex Lifeson as guest. Psychedelic parts meet complex patterns. No easy listening! On Back And Forth they include some ska-ish rhyhtms and due to the ska elements the song is more catchy then the first tunes. After the guitar-driven Landscrape they slow down with Markers which starts balladesque and gives the listener a short break. The airy guitar reminds me slightly of Mark Knopfler.... That changes when they get more powerful. With Hide And Seek they get more heavy again, even if there are some semi-acoustic parts. Within the more then 8 minute long song they change speed and moods - and surprise the listener more then just once.
The new Tiles album shows variety, musicianship and even some catchy melodies. But still its complex and so fans of Dream Theater and Spock's Beard should dig this. Prog fans who listen to bands like Arena, Threshold or The Flower Kings should listen first and make up their minds. I recommend Markers, Crowded Emptiness and Dragons, Dreams And Daring Deeds.

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

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