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Tiles – Pretending 2 Run  


Last Updated on 07:06 PM by Giorgos Tsekas

Genre: Rock/Hard Rock/Progressive Rock
Country: Canada
Label: Laser’s Edge
Year: 2016

It’s been eight years since the Canadians’ last studio album (FryPaper – 2008). Fortunately, the band didn’t keep absolute satellite silence and made sure to offer us some live recordings (Off The Floor – 2012 & Off The Floor 2 – 2014) while working in the background on the material of the double album “Pretending 2 Run”, which marks their return to the studio recordings.

The sound of Tiles always had as a solid foundation their Rush influences and that’s something they never hid (it’s no coincidence that Alex Lifeson participated in Fry Paper). But it would be unfair to classify them in the category of Rush clones, since in their music are incorporated all those elements that highlight in the wide range the artistic stigma of the band, leaving the listener to locate himself alone a variety of influences from various bands and an inclination to the wider Prog scene.

Having all the aforementioned stuff in mind, it’s easy for a question such as the following to rise: “Does the band deliver an interesting album, even though it has been absent for 8 years now?”. Without a doubt, the answer is a big yes. There are songs in which Chris Herin’s guitars have the upper hand in the progression of the compositions, there are beautiful and almost hypnotic melodies in Paul Patrick’s vocals and all this is aptly rigged onto the adventurous rhythm sections of Jeff Whittle (bass) and Mike Evans (drums). There are moments when the band is immersed in completely abstract paths (bless Herin’s keys), while excellent are the moments when the compositions are marching up to Jazz paths in harmony with the rest of the record’s atmosphere. This is where the great guitarist Mike Stern – guitarist of Miles Davis- put something of his own magic in the final result. I recommend a careful and repeated listening especially in instrumental tracks of the album; it is certain that every time a new sound surprise awaits the listener.

Speaking about guest appearances, it must be mentioned that there are many and significant guests in this record; from Ian Anderson and Mike Portnoy (along with his son Max!) to Collin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), and the list is even longer and yes, the participation of so many excellent musicians raise the overall quality of the album. If you like to read names, behold: Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Mike Portnoy (Flying Colors, Winery Dogs, ex-Dream Theater), Adam Holzman (Steven Wilson Band), Mike Stern (Miles Davis), Kim Mitchell (Max webster), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Kevin Chown (TarjaTurunen, Chad Smith), Matthew Parmenter (Discipline), Mark Mikel (Pillbugs), Joe Deninzon, Max Portnoy (Next To None).

Apparently the band during the process of creating the record had in mind of hearing it as an overall result, which is clearly shown by its internal structure. However, I can finally admit that the length of the album – double CD with 21 tracks – is its weak point. Chris Herin recently said that not even the band members themselves expected that the album would have such a long duration. On the other hand I think that there could be a better management of the material, thus giving the band an opportunity for an EP release in the future, that would keep us warm… Food for thought.

If I had to pick out some specific tracks from the album that would certainly stand out, then they would be: “Shelter In Place”, “Drops of Rain”, “Small Fire Burning” and “The Disappearing Floor”. These songs stand out as compositions but simultaneously they are excellent choices for anyone looking a first contact with the world of the new Tiles disc.

Undoubtedly “Pretending 2 Run” stands with pride next to the band’s previous releases and it even introduces elements which first appear in the sound of Tiles. Those devoted would hasten to add the album in their collection, while it is highly probable that those who’ll become familiar with Tiles with their new album, will look into the earlier releases of the band. As an overall result, the record leaves a very good impression especially to those who like Tiles’ “difficult” sound, but I don’t know if it’ll manage to stand the test of time or if it’ll be added to the list of the absolutely necessary albums you listened to lately.




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