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Tiles biography
The American quartet TILES hails from Detroit. TILES has a Rush meets Extreme kind of a hard rock sound. Their debut disc was a bit on the simplistic side, but their latest music is a realm dominated by SHADOW GALLERY and ENCHANT. The music is atmospheric on a vast level and well orchestrated with lots of layers. There is a greater use of acoustic instruments (mandolin, acoustic guitar and violin) and ballad structures. They bring us further refinement in their magical blend of prog sensibility and hard-rock energy. For fans of a technical brand of semi-prog hard rock!

In 1997, the band bring Terry Brown as a producer for the album "Fence the Clear". They reached the international music scene in 1995 by releasing their albums worldwide.The album "Presents of Mind" solidified the band's place in the progressive rock scene. They received an invitation from DREAM THEATER to open one of their concert in Europe in 1999. IAN ANDERSON of JETHRO TULL said "Beg, steal or borrow "Presents of Mind" immediately.If you have to, even pay for it." The band is currently finishing the recording of a double album "Pretending to Run", a concept album about the tale of a person disillusioned by betrayal and struggling with reality. The band has worked with a choir and special guests for this new album such as IAN ANDERSON, MIKE PORTNOY, COLIN EDWIN ans MATHEW PARMENTER.

Bio updated by rdtprog

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Buy TILES Music

Pretending 2 RunPretending 2 Run
Laser's Edge 2016
Audio CD$10.19
$9.24 (used)
Tiles (Special Edition)Tiles (Special Edition)
Extra tracks · Limited Edition · Remastered · Special Edition
Inside Out Music 2012
Audio CD$9.98
$10.06 (used)
Window DressingWindow Dressing
Inside Out Music 2012
Audio CD$7.99
$7.19 (used)
Off the FloorOff the Floor
Standing Pavement 2014
Audio CD$10.23
$12.91 (used)
Fly PaperFly Paper
Inside Out Music 2012
Audio CD$10.87
$8.95 (used)
Fence The ClearFence The Clear
Inside Out Music
Audio CD$11.60
$10.60 (used)
Presents of MindPresents of Mind
Import · Limited Edition · Special Edition
Inside Out Germany 2004
Audio CD$17.82
$16.82 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
TILES - Window Dressing (CD) NEW SEALED USD $14.38 Buy It Now
Teknicolour Aftermath by Babylonian Tiles (CD, Jul-2001, Pangea Music) USD $4.99 Buy It Now 8h 2m
GALLIANO Roofing Tiles CD 4 Track Part 1 B/w Instrumental, Price Of Peace Attica USD $6.53 Buy It Now 9h 30m
Babylonian Tiles - Basking On The Sun At Midnight CD autographed by lead singer USD $11.01 Buy It Now 10h 19m
MUD Nite On The Tiles 7" Promo B/w Time And Again (pvt80) UK Private Stock 1976 USD $5.48 Buy It Now 10h 41m
MUD Nite On The Tiles 7" B/w Time And Again (6078456) Pic Sleeve GERMAN Philips USD $6.53 Buy It Now 11h 6m
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1 day
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Tiles - Pretending 2 Run (NEW 2CD) USD $18.30 Buy It Now 3 days
Mud-Nite On The Tiles 7" 45-Private Stock, PVT 80, 1976, Plain Sleeve Writing On USD $6.48 Buy It Now 3 days
V=INYL Mud Nite on the Tiles DEMO plus 4 more Private Stock/ Splash 7" all EX+ USD $9.03 Buy It Now 3 days
PROGNOSIS 13 Classic Rock Prog Mag CD Soft Machine Agents Of Mercy Tiles Aeon Ze USD $6.53 Buy It Now 3 days
Tiles - Fence The Clear (CD, 1997, InsideOutMusic, Germany) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Tiles [Bonus Tracks] by Tiles (CD, Mar-2004, Inside Out Music) USD $19.34 Buy It Now 5 days
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Babylon Tiles 90s ROCK 45 Rain People / No One Now 1994 USD $8.98 Buy It Now 5 days
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BABYLONIAN TILES basking in the sun at midnight CD 1994 BRYNA GOLDEN TIM THAYER USD $13.99 Buy It Now 6 days
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Off the Floor [Digipak] by Tiles (CD, Sep-2012, Standing Pavement) USD $12.87 Buy It Now 7 days
Tiles Presents of Mind CD New Sealed. Nems Argentina USD $15.00 Buy It Now 7 days
Big Bad Bollocks Night on the Tiles CD USD $10.00 Buy It Now 7 days
Galliano - Roofing Tiles - Talkin' Loud - 1996 #739824 USD $11.76 Buy It Now 8 days
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Babylonian Tiles Teknicolour Aftermath CD *SEALED* USD $0.99 Buy It Now 8 days
Off The Floor 02 - Tiles (CD Used Very Good) USD $17.38 Buy It Now 9 days
TILES Please Mobile Alabama CD pop-punk Albini 2004 USD $5.75 Buy It Now 9 days
Teknicolour Aftermath by Babylonian Tiles (CD, Jul-2001, Pangea Music) USD $3.60 Buy It Now 9 days
Tiles: self titled album (CD: 1994 Standing Pavement Records) USD $6.99 Buy It Now 10 days
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BABYLONIAN TILES - Teknicolour Aftermath (CD 2001) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 11 days
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David Bowie Framed Memorabilia Lets Dance CD Authenticated Floor tiles in Video USD $59.57 Buy It Now 12 days
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Off the Floor [Digipak] * by Tiles (CD, Sep-2012, Standing Pavement) USD $20.23 Buy It Now 13 days
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Galliano - Roofing Tiles - Talkin Loud - 1995 #34551 USD $5.22 Buy It Now 13 days
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Tiles PRESENTS OF MIND 1999 CD w 2 Bonus Tracks on Magna Carta Progressive Rock USD $9.99 Buy It Now 14 days
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Tiles - Presents of Mind (CD 1999) BONUS TRACKS USD $19.61 Buy It Now 16 days
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THE TILES I Can't Sleep At Night 7" OOP early-00's reissue garage Ugly Things USD $4.99 Buy It Now 17 days
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Tiles - Window Dressing (2004) CD NEW/SEALED SPEEDYPOST USD $6.24 Buy It Now 19 days
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The Best of Detroit Stuff Volume 1 CD ZRock CODA Tiles PARADOX Dreamlore ACRYLIC USD $9.99 Buy It Now 22 days
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TILES discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

TILES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.62 | 40 ratings
3.68 | 58 ratings
Fence The Clear
3.85 | 93 ratings
Presents Of Mind
3.38 | 50 ratings
Window Dressing
3.27 | 45 ratings
Fly Paper
3.81 | 34 ratings
Pretending 2 Run

TILES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.75 | 8 ratings
Presence in Europe 1999
3.67 | 12 ratings
Off The Floor
3.44 | 9 ratings
Off The Floor 02

TILES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TILES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TILES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

TILES Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pretending 2 Run by TILES album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.81 | 34 ratings

Pretending 2 Run
Tiles Heavy Prog

Review by PlanetRodentia2

4 stars Tentalizing Tessellations and the Riddle in the Rhyme

Until recently, I was never a great fan of Tiles. I gave their well regarded Presents of Mind a try and found it underwhelming. Nevertheless, when I first saw the Hugh Syme cover of this album, I was intrigued enough to give them another chance. My more favorable reaction led me to listen to Pretending 2 Run online, and my first coherent thought after preordering the album was, "What a BEAST!" Since its arrival, I have been listening to it ever since, almost daily, sometimes one disc or the other, but lately from start to finish without interruption. A huge leap forward compared to Presents of Mind, Pretending 2 Run has elevated my opinion of the band substantially.

Initial impressions: This album abounds in color, and that blaze of glory is what first appealed to me. Oboe, saxophone, strings, a variety of percussion instruments, choirs, church bells, banjo...the wealth of timbres is staggering, and it is all applied with great care. Paul Rarick sounds so good on this album, and he employs his own color palette with the same great care. The other musicians acquit themselves marvelously and play with great passion. I particularly enjoyed the burbling basslines. The lyrics are poetic, sometimes cryptic, with an occasional line of great beauty and many wonderful metaphors. Hugh Syme's artwork complements the album very well, and the cover itself encapsulates the album brilliantly, especially if you think about how an escalator works. Given the explosive subject matter (betrayal!), the overall aesthetic is surprisingly cool and cerebral, and this, more than anything, has had me taking notes, scratching my head, reading lyrics, and looking up quotes to figure out exactly what is going on. Pretending 2 Run is not quite what it appears to be.

On the surface, Pretending 2 Run is a story of a betrayal and its aftermath, and the band serves as the emotional storyteller while the vocalist adds context and reflection, perhaps unconscious and conscious mind, respectively. The structure of the album is anything but simple, and this complexity suggests to me that the album is about much more than a simple betrayal. Having more the feel of a bildungsroman than a simple story and the approach of a classical song cycle than a rock album, Pretending 2 Run leads us through the main character's experiences, a series of revelations about his past, present, and future that lead him to a sense of acceptance. Each revelation seems hard-won and is fraught with philosophical reflections. With quotes from Latin, Savonarolo and "Le Petit Prince," the "story" is very high-concept and serves as an exploration of the psychological and emotional toll of being flawed amidst other flawed beings. As tedious as all that may sound, the album is actually very engaging and enjoyable.

Structure plays an important role in this album, which takes the shape of a reflected sine wave, with each CD mirroring the other but going in different directions. Throughout, expect to hear cross-references and whisps of previously heard motifs, little memories that flit two and fro as our main character sorts through the mess he's found himself in. Compositionally, interesting things happen, such as the bass player taking over the melody as an ostinato pattern over which other instruments play something new, or a melodic line on CD1 being played backwards on CD2. Lyrically, words and images recur to heighten the cyclical nature of the main character's struggle and our musical experience.

CD1 starts at zero with "Pretending 2 Run," which begins with odds noises and a marching drum and sets the stage for the album by presenting the main character's problem. Slowly we move down into darkness and work our way to "Stonewall," one of my favorite tracks, which is a series of emotional scenes in response to a lack of answers from the betrayer. When Rarick sings "stonewall," the song has a very dreamy quality to it, as if the main character cannot comprehend why his pleadings are not properly answered. The band says what the main character cannot, and the music becomes very angry. Eventually, the character is ready to hear the truth, and the instrumental Voir Dire (yes, you have to look that up) sets us up for the character's first major revelation and the bottom of the wave, "Drops of Rain," which contains some unsettling static sections that, upon repetition, become increasingly ornamented with background vocals. Now we hurtle back toward home with "Taken By Surprise," which contains a number of unexpected references to pop music and literature and suggests that there is a "riddle in the rhyme". "Refugium" is a fetal position in music, an unexpected choral number that ends with church bells. "Small Fire Burning" begins in manner like the first track but ends with a whimper, slowing to zero. You can stop here and feel satisfied with this album. However, Tiles is not done. What follows is a surreal mirroring and upending of what came before.

With CD2, we start at zero ago with "Midwinter," which begins virtually identically to the first track of CD1 but quickly veers into very different, more uplifting territory. Here is where Ian Anderson regales us with some engaging flute music. "Weightless" is a very strong song with some interesting lyrics, hints of some lessons learned, and a bright jazzy saxophone solo. "Battle Weary" is the companion to "Stonewall," in which the melody for the word "stonewall" is played backwards as the melody for "battle weary". (What does this MEAN?) Afterwards follows "Meditatio," the choral companion of "Refugium". After some very surreal sounds in "Other Arrangements," we reach the next round of major revelations via "The Disappearing Floor" and "Fait Accompi," the "happy" ending we expect at the peak of the wave, complete with light and airy string accompaniment. This is not sustainable, however, and the next 10+ minutes serve as an exploded companion of "Taken by Surprise," now a series of independent tidbits, complete with a recapitulation of major motifs in the instrumental "Uneasy Truce" and two modified reprises of "Pretending 2 Run". These thrust us quickly back toward home again, and, by the album's end, "Backsliding," we find our main character in a strange state. There was redemption of sorts, but it wasn't clean and tidy. The album's closing moments submerge us into something surreal and dark with accompanying drum. If we put CD1 back on, we find ourselves returning to where we began, or someplace similar, and the wave is complete.

Pretending 2 Run is a puzzle in music, and I find myself returning to it again and again because I've lived through something like this. I like and appreciate the concept. However, if you don't care about that, you will nevertheless find some engaging music, enjoyable jams, and thought-provoking lyrics. It hangs together best as an album, but a few songs hold up quite well on their own, e.g. Stonewall, Drops of Rain, Taken by Surprise, Weightless, and Fait Accompli.

It warrants one star more than what you'd rate Presents of Mind. For me, Pretending 2 Run ranks somewhere between a 4 and 5. The high-concept nature of the album is a bit off-putting at times, and it sometimes feels unnecessarily long. Nevertheless, I can't stop listening to it, and I wake up with its melodies in my head. I keep fretting over what it all means. The structure fascinates me. I give it a 4.5 and round down, at present, to 4 stars.

 Pretending 2 Run by TILES album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.81 | 34 ratings

Pretending 2 Run
Tiles Heavy Prog

Review by OldSchoolProg

5 stars This two disc concept album has been many years in the making, but well worth the wait. Part time proggers Tiles and producer Terry Brown show us that they can craft some great stories backed by a solid progressive, and at times, heavy sound. It's gets better and better with every listen, there's a lot of music here, something for everyone. Most notable differences from other Tiles releases, vocal layering and harmonies, including a choir, are in the forefront of this Tiles sound. Musically with minor comparisons to Rush, but still distinct and original. A bevy of guest artists make an appearance, most notably Ian Anderson and Mike Portnoy (and son Max recording together for the first time). This release rivals their critically acclaimed Presents of Mind, if not bettering it in maturity and experience. It's a lot of music to get through in one sitting, I gave Presents a 4-4.5, I'm going all the way to a 5 on this as the pinnacle of their catalog at this moment.
 Fence The Clear  by TILES album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.68 | 58 ratings

Fence The Clear
Tiles Heavy Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Tiles' debut did make some noise to a scene, that was about to get back healthier than ever.So, only positive things were about to follow, starting from 1997, when the American quartet recorded the sophomore effort ''Fence the clear''.It was again released (in April) on Standing Pavement Recordings for the US market, but a few months later the same work was launched in Europe by Inside Out.Additionally the Rush comparisons became even tighter, as long-time Rush producer Terry Brown helped the band during the final stage of mixing.

Stylistically not much has changed, the band secured a raw, guitar-based Progressive Rock with complex plays and sharp riffs throughout, but the compositions now sound more mature, consistent and inspiring.''Fence the clear'' is a fine example of lyrical Prog Rock in the vein of RUSH, which doesn't lack some very good melodies and a certain technical depth.The music sounds a bit raw due to the absence of any keyboard support, but at the same time it's also a pretty polished attempt, as the guys had found a good balance between heavy riffs, furious rhythms, unexpected and surprising moves and instant melodies, throwing in a few lighter parts between the Power Rock, RUSH-inspired textures.The solos are very good, the groovy themes are extremely enjoyable and Paul Rarick's singing is expressive and clean.Propably the Rock equivalent to Prog Metal legends QUEENSRYCHE, they shared the same taste for technical accomplishment, epic lyricism and dynamic, guitar-led fests.On the other hand I find the length of the album to be quite extended for such a style, sometimes less is more, as not all tracks are trully great.But you can't help but listening over and over to one of the greatest anthems of guitar Prog, ''Another's hand'', an orgasm of sudden twists and turns, frenetic rhythms, jazzy drumming and high-pitched singing, perfect track.

From dedicated fans of Rush for dedicated fans of Rush.This is passionate Heavy/Power Rock with complex ideas, some great jazzy pinches and epic-styled, convincing vocals.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Presents Of Mind  by TILES album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.85 | 93 ratings

Presents Of Mind
Tiles Heavy Prog

Review by OldSchoolProg

4 stars This was the first album of my introduction to Detroit based Tiles. A solid outing and I was instantly intrigued by their style and sound. I often read of their comparisons to Rush, and I understand the personnel links with producer Terry Brown, artist/guest musician Hugh Syme, and even a guest appearance by Alex Lifeson on the later released "Fly Paper." But, I think Tiles has forged their own sound and path in the prog world and any comparisons to Rush, Dream Theater, Queensrythc are just that, comparisons and influences, Tiles has been around as long as some of these other groups. Often asked, "How can a band be prog with our a keyboard player?" Well, Tiles does the job with their rhythms, time signatures, plus they have that edge of metal sound that moves that album along at an intense pace. Vocalist Paul Rarick starts to really mature with this release, especially in the control of his upper register, his range continues to grow. Guitarist Chris Herin starts to push the sonic qualities of his instrument with some wickedly interesting chords that he later explodes with on "Window Dressing." Bassist Jeff Wittle is truly a master of his craft and adds that driving punch and harmonic bass component missing in so many prog bands. The Tiles catalog is worth exploring, "Presents of Mind" is their strongest contender in the prog/prog metal world, highly recommended by this listener, I would give this a 4.5 our of 5 stars, I like it that much.
 Window Dressing  by TILES album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.38 | 50 ratings

Window Dressing
Tiles Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This is the fourth studio album from Tiles, and any band that starts with a song that is over seventeen minutes long is obviously full of confidence. That is the title cut, and it shows the many sides of Tiles as they mix melodic rock with loads of other forms to create a type of music which has obviously been heavily influenced by Rush. But although they have a guest keyboard player in Hugh Syme (who also provided the artwork) this is a four-piece rock band (they also have a guest violinist in Matthew Parmenter (Discipline), and a guest guitarist in Kim Mitchell ? surely not the Kim Mitchell from Max Webster?), one that uses extra instruments to colour and flavour the proceedings, but not to take it over.

The music is extremely melodic, and even crunchy when they require it, and the production of Terry Brown (Rush, IQ, Fates Warning etc) has given the music an extra polish. It may not be pure progressive in the normal sense, but it has taken a hefty chunk of that genre and placed it with melodic rock to create an album that is very accessible on first listen yet also contains depths to enjoy and investigate. Yet another strong album from the Detroit based band.

Originally appeared in Feedback #79, June 2004

 Fly Paper by TILES album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.27 | 45 ratings

Fly Paper
Tiles Heavy Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Latest album to date of this intrsting heavy prog band from USA, issued in 2008 and named Fly pare is another winner in their catalogue. At first listning was almost the same as on previous albums, musicaly speaking, but nevertheless good, this album has Tiles trade mark for sure but again like on Window dresing they are stuck in some lacking moments in their career when they are not able to surpass this period. Not a bad album , Sacred & Mundane is a killer piece , the guitar works are excellent featuring as guest Alex Lifson, if all the pieces were sounded like this one then the album were from my side almost 5 stars, but unfortunatly is diffrent..... Matthew Parmenter is again on the album doing some vocal parts and keybords, the result is more then ok. So overall , good, nothing groundbreaking here like on Presents of mind or Fence the clear but is a pleasent album that worth to be heared. 3 stars for sure, great cover art again. I'm waiting now for a new release from this great band , is no 3 years since this album was released.
 Window Dressing  by TILES album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.38 | 50 ratings

Window Dressing
Tiles Heavy Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Tiles is already at the time this album was released 2004 a force in heavy prog realm, albums like Fence the clar and specialy Presents of mind are true jewels of the genre in the'90's. This is their forth album issued in 2004 and named Window dressing is another worthy album, but as previous reviewers said, this release is lacking in great ideas. While the album overall is ok, good no doubt, is no memorable moments, the passages are ok but lacking in a strong captivating arrangements. It's bean almost 5 years since their previous album and Tiles wanted to come with a solid album after some respiro years. They suuceded at some point but not entirely, for ex the best pieces is without doubt the opening and title track Window dressing, almost 18 of greatness, intelligent arrangements and great musicianship, the rest of the pieces while are ok are little same in passages, but not bad. Heavy prog is present on every track here, Rush influenced album with guest Matthew Parmenter on violin on Te water tea, maybe the second best of the album. Great cover arts and booklet. So, this album worth to be investigated if you like heavy prog as I do and specialy this band, they don't have weak albums only less intristing, one of them is this one who desearves from me 3 stars.
 Presents Of Mind  by TILES album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.85 | 93 ratings

Presents Of Mind
Tiles Heavy Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars 4,5 stars realy!!! In my humble opinion, this third albun of the North American band TILES entitled "Presents of Mind" , is his best work and with certainty one of the best albums of heavy-prog to the late 90's. The main influence is the Canadian band RUSH, however there are still other influences also evident, as for instance QUEENSRYCHE, ENCHANT among others. In this disk the band presents a work very well elaborated where the heavy approach of their melodies (with excellent counterpoints between the guitars and the bass) they almost always presents intercalated sections with more moderate themes but that contains the same strong melodic appeal . My highlights are the track 2 "Modification", track 4 "Facing Failure", track 6 " Ballad of the Sacred Cows", track 8 "Taking Control " and the track 9 "Removes Procedures." The bonus tracks are excellent with prominence for the track 12 "Token Pledge (live) ", that it is one of the best moments of his first work of 1994. The 4 musicians are all excellent and my rate is 4 stars!!!
 Presents Of Mind  by TILES album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.85 | 93 ratings

Presents Of Mind
Tiles Heavy Prog

Review by The SaidRemark

2 stars Huge Disappointment.

I would like to preface this review by saying that I am an enormous RUSH fan. Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures hold special places in my heart like few albums possibly can. When I heard phrases like "the album Rush never recorded" and "If you can't get enough of the Hemispheres/ Permanent Waves / Moving Pictures period of Rush" I though I had struck gold. So I paid 15 dollars for this album with only having heard "Safe Procedures".

The music the band has written is incredible - beautiful melodies, odd time signatures galore, long solos packed full of great chops. The problem is the lyrics. I actually cringed with embarrassment spinning this disc for the first time. The guitarist/lyricist is obviously trying to write words in the same manner that Peart has pioneered, only he is not nearly as good as it. While Neil Peart has an uncanny ability to capture sophisticated ideas that have no business in a rock song or tell a compelling narrative, Chris Herin's lyrics are unbelievably awkward and juvenile by comparison, the equivalent of being lectured by a thirteen-year old in song. Even though the James Labrie sound-alike vocalist has great talents, there is nothing he can do to make me want to hear these words sung.

Clearly this band takes a huge amount of influence from RUSH's progressive roots, but does not produce a remotely comparable product. Good music, but not strong enough to redeem the atrocious psuedo-intellectual lyrics, lyrics poor enough to give Dream Theater's last album a run for it's money. The music is however, enough to boost my rating to a 2, but not enough to make this anything I would ever want to listen to again.

 Fence The Clear  by TILES album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.68 | 58 ratings

Fence The Clear
Tiles Heavy Prog

Review by JLocke
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I see nothing wrong with taking heavy influences from past greats, but what I do and will always take issue with is when perfectly capable musicians seem to dive into the old territory, then simply stand still, without trying anything new within the space of their genre.

So it is with Tiles' Fence The Clear, whose nifty album cover and low price tag led me to pick it up in the store after I had been previously intrigued by the band on this site. I have no idea if the band as a whole has done better or worse work outside of this release, so I cannot base my rating on those factors. All I can do here is rate the album on its own merits, not on the band's overall capability. I came across two records by this band in a used bin of my local Suncoast/FYE, and had money to burn, so I bought one of them (mustn't buy two of something from the same artist when you have never heard them before). I chose this one because as I recalled, it had quite high marks on here, was fairly early on in the band's career, and the album artwork is just gorgeous.

When reading the album's liner notes, I became even more intrigued. I read about the story behind the album title, the symbolism of the cover visual, and how the band spent a long time working out the music for the record. They spoke of experimentation, clean, live takes in the studio with very little overdubs, and how the music was tried out for live audiences and perfected over time before the album was recorded. Taking in all of this knowledge, I was gearing up for quite the inventive listening experience. What I got instead was a slightly above-par Rush clone with some modern trappings thrown in now and again. Hardly the earth- shattering event the band seemed to think it was.

As I said before, being influenced by a single band of a previous generation isn't bad in and of itself (although I honestly can't wrap my head around the concept, myself). It's what you do with that influence that shows how good of a songwriter you are, how capable you are with the material, and whether or not you're able to transcend conformity and make something new and fresh with old ingredients. Don't laugh and suggest such a thing isn't even possible, because it's been one before. For all their cheese, Spock's Beard makes damn good music, and they take obvious influences from only a handful of past bands. But they succeed in creating something more substantial and less contrived than most in the same boat. Bands such as Tiles seem to always hit a brick wall at some point and come to the realization that they aren't able to go much further than what their inspiration already did twenty years ago or more. But rather than take that as a challenge and rise to it by either starting from scratch or reinventing themselves, they simply accept the fact that they aren't original or inspired in the slightest, and they go through with it anyway. Is that a lack of motivation, or is that simply not caring?

Perhaps music such as this simply can't progress any further, but if that is indeed the case, modern bands need to stop mining it for inspiration and move on to another musical frontier. There is plenty of ground still seldom covered, yet these types of modern artists always seem to head for the same exact spot. It's like a buddy told them about a super-cool place for finding gold, but by the time they get there, everybody else's buddy has told them the same thing, and nothing is left. When the stream runs empty, move on, don't hang around and hope for the best. That is, unfortunately, what I felt has happened with this music most of the time I was listening to it. That isn't to say that there aren't things to enjoy, here, but I'm simply warning you: do not go into this record expecting anything terribly original as I did, or else you'll find yourself more than a little wrought with disappointment.

Okay, so I've talked about the album's weaknesses: lack of originality. Okay, fine. But that's something that becomes more and more common all the time, so should I really give this release such a hard time over it? Perhaps not, but it's my personal opinion being shared, here. Many will disagree with me on many things I say. I write reviews to simply help my like-minded music enthusiasts steer clear of the bland or the unnecessary. I consider this album to be both, however, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's not completely worth your time. Just tread carefully when you venture into its territory. The album does have strengths to counter the weaknesses, but I just don't personally think it is strong enough to give the album anything above an average score. The strength would be the music itself, of course. Sure, it's hardly original, but it's well-played, well-produced, and sometimes a lot of fun to listen to. Will I be playing it on a regular basis when there are so many better albums in my ever-expanding collection? Well, no. But I certainly plan on breaking it out now and again when I just want to have some cheesy prog fun.

The musicians are very good, the songwriting is above par, but the originality and artistry is lacking. Good for what it is, but nothing you haven't heard before. Believe or not, however, I came out of this with high hopes for this band. I think I will pick up one of their later releases before closing my book on them. After all, the talent and ability is clearly there, and it takes time for musicians to find themselves, especially in an area as wide open and varied as Progressive Rock. No, I think Tiles might still hit the right mark in releases to come. But we'll see.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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