Tiles - Window Dressing

Year of Release: 2004
Label: InsideOut Music America
Catalog Number: IOMACD 2080
Format: CD
Total Time: 67:20:00

If you're familiar with Tiles' previous album Presents Of Mind, you're in for a surprise because there is little in common between that album and Window Dressing. There's hardly a jazzy note to be found here, and that tentative approach has gone forever. My good friend Steve from Tennessee introduced me to Tiles a few years back, and made this observation:

"Tiles had a really good sound and identity with Presents Of Mind, and that album should have been a solid foundation for later efforts. Instead they seem to be experimenting with their sound, and this yields mixed results in their latest effort."

Steve is one of the original Tiles fans and knows Tiles better than I do - so the new sound may not sit well with Tiles fans. On the other hand, the band may find a whole new audience. Tiles has been mislabeled as a progressive rock band - and that misconception has probably been enforced by their opening for Dream Theater. This album is best described as progressive-hard-rock, with some interesting diversions. It is not metal, nor is it neo, and it certainly isn't symphonic, yet it definitely is prog.

Here's an observation: Tiles is at their best when playing progressive, instrumental or mellow pieces. Their newly adopted hard edge doesn't work for me. The heavier tracks have an abundance of distortion at the bottom and there's just no room to breathe. And the excessive use of cymbals, often brought near the front in the mix, is sometimes a huge distraction.

But several tracks stand out and they alone more than justify the purchase of this CD: The album opens with the title track, a 17 minute mini-epic that needs to be heard several times before it sinks in. Think of a hard-edged version of Echolyn's Mei, with everything that is good and bad about that statement. Lots of variations and twists and turns and tempo shifts and generally well structured, yet you sometimes get the impression that melody-follows-form rather than the other way around.

"Stop Gap" is a short instrumental piece that builds slowly around a jaunty rhythm and its development is interesting and fun to hear. Pity it's so short - I'd love to hear what Tiles could do with it given the luxury of time. "Unincornicopia" is a wonderful classically-styled piece with Chris Herin's piano and guest artist Matthew (Discipline) Parmenter's violin. This piece is a dramatic break from the rest of the CD and is laid back, relaxing, and very elegant. "Tear-Water Tea" is an appealing ballad, and is the best showcase for Paul Rarick's vocals - which are not well represented on the rest of Window Dressing.

Aside from the title track, the songs tend to improve toward the end of the CD - and I'm setting my CD player to hit tracks 1, 5, 6, 7 and 9, which will yield half an hour of excellent prog. Someone should tell Tiles to put more emphasis on the mellower pieces.

?perhaps someone just did!

Released by InsideOut in Europe (IOMCD 167/SPV 085-60662)

Window Dressing (17:13) / Remember To Forget (4:57) / All She Knows (4:37) / Capture The Flag (9:05) / Stop Gap (2:55) / Tear-Water Tea (4:15) / Unincornicopia (5:22) / Paintings (4.47) / A.02 (1:18) / Slippers In The Snow (3.14) / Spindrift (9:30)

Pat DeLeon - drums, percussion
Chris Herin - guitars, mandolin, banjo, keyboards, trumpet (5)
Paul Rarick - vocals
Jeff Whittle - bass, lead guitar (5)

Additional Musicians

Kim Mitchell - guitar (4)
Matthew Parmenter - violin (6, 7)
Hugh Syme - keyboards, orchestration (10)

Tiles (1994)
Fence The Clear (1997)
Presents Of Mind (1999)
Presence In Europe 1999 (2000)
Tiles - Special Edition (2004)
Fence The Clear - Special Edition (2004)
Presents Of Mind - Special Edition (2004)
Window Dressing (2004)
Fly Paper (2008)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: September 19th 2004
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website: www.tiles-music.com
Hits: 1515
Language: english


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