I’m sure we can all remember slipping into our parent’s, or older sibling’s over-sized shoes as children, then shuffling clumsily around the house longing for the day we’d fit comfortably into the shoes. Of course now with the passage of time - and feet several times larger - if given the opportunity to slip back into out-of-date footwear, I’m sure we’d decline. But there is a silly sense of accomplishment knowing we have grown into those shoes.
But what does all this banter about footwear have to do with music?
It’s a simple allegory drawing a comparison to the latest CD from the Detroit, Michigan progressive rock group ‘Tiles’ and their Canadian big brother, ‘Rush’.
And with “Fly Paper”, the band’s fifth release, and fourteen years under their belt, the band has not only grown comfortably into the shoes of big brother ‘Rush’ – but have developed their own voice becoming a bona fide musical force and separate entity.
The ‘Rush’ influence is still quite obvious, but in the past few years as the gap widens between each new ‘Rush’ album, ‘Tiles’ has flourished, comfortably picking up the slack and a share of the fan base.
After their initial Rush-clone debut in 1995, each new release: “Fence The Clear” (1997), “Presents Of Mind” (1999), and “Window Dressing” (2004) has seen the band make great strides in developing their own unique voice; and now with their 2008 release “Fly Paper” the band is tighter, even more polished, and has developed a knack for hook laden melodies with complex and intelligent arrangements.
Don’t get me wrong, the band hasn’t completely cast-off the Rush-clone persona – they wear it proudly as a badge of honor – even employing past ‘Rush’ Producer Terry Brown to oversee this latest project. But they have honed their craft and transformed ‘Tiles’ into a well-oiled music machine rather than a glorified Tribute Band.
‘Tiles’ consists of musicians Paul Rarick (vocals), Chris Herin (guitar), Jeff Whittle (bass) and Mark Evans (drums). Also on tap are guest musicians, Alannah Myles, Kim Mitchell (Max Webster), Matthew Parmenter (Discipline), Hugh Syme, Sonya Mastick, and as a stamp of approval and mutual admiration from their big brother, Alex Lifeson (Rush) provides some additional guitar work.
For those anxious to fill the void between ‘Rush’ albums I highly recommend ‘Tiles’ new album “Fly Paper” as a way to pacify and satisfy your craving. And it might just be the best ‘Rush’ album you’ve heard in ages.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on January 24th, 2008