Release DetailsLABEL Inside Out
RELEASED ON 5/25/2004
posted on 7/2004 By:
At their better moments, Tiles is a throw back to early era Rush power prog; not excessively showy in scope or musicianship but fun to listen to and more musically competent than your average hard rock band. I’d even go so far as to say that they write some fairly compelling, if somewhat generic, music a good portion of the time. This isn’t by any means a breathtaking album, and as far as prog rock goes, it’s hardly what I’d call forward thinking, but there are few complaints either. Basically, Tiles has struck me as a band without a very distinguishable identity. There aren’t any fresh ideas on Window Dressing, and when they do try to be a bit daring with the excessively long opening title track, they fall flat. But, on the flipside, the rest of the album is a lot of fun to listen to since they don’t give themselves time to lose focus or meander.
Window Dressing begins rather badly, and that was enough to keep me from giving the album much of a chance at first. The first song, entitled “Window Dressing,” and over 17 minutes long, is a clumsy and disjointed affair. It seems like they wrote three or four songs, stuck them together and tried to throw in a common melody here and there. There’s no reason for the song to be so long and it becomes a chore to get through. That’s rather unfortunate because there are several really nice ideas contained within that are just showcased in such an awkward way that they aren’t really worth the listen. When I first got this album I listened to the first song once and was so bored by it that I didn’t give the rest a chance. Luckily, I finally managed to throw it back on because it needed a review, and I was definitely pleasantly surprised by the rest.
With the first song taking up a quarter of the album, there’s still a good fifty minutes afterwards containing ten shorter and much better songs. The second track, “Remember to Forget,” is probably the album's best. It’s catchy and well written with enough diversity to stay interesting and yet enough cohesion to keep it from ending up in the same territory as the first. “Capture the Flag” proves that Tiles can write a somewhat lengthy song and keep focused, as it lasts for nine minutes and remains a pleasant listen the entire time. There are a few softer songs that follow, and a classically oriented instrumental song that keep the album from being monotonous, since many of the harder songs aren’t too different from each other. The nine and a half minute closer is a further exercise in focused songwriting and ends Window Dressing far better than it began.
To their credit, their musicianship and production are both nice. There’s not much dazzling wankery ala Dream Theater, but that’s not really so bad, because that kind of progressive rock gets pretty damn pompous and tiresome. Tiles does use a number of odd time signatures and occasional intricate guitar work. The musicianship is more impressive in that the band members are very well coordinated with each other than in masturbatory soloing. Window Dressing is produced a lot more like a hard rock album than a prog rock album, and it works pretty well the majority of the time. The guitars are kind of crunchy, the bass muted and the drums extremely average sounding. I think musically and production-wise, I’d say that Tiles are somewhat similar to Freak Kitchen, though Freak Kitchen is far more charismatic, original, and entertaining.
Overall, this isn’t at all a bad album despite its not so great beginning. It does, however, embody all that’s wrong with so-called progressive music today. There’s just nothing progressive about it at all. I’d take Freak Kitchen over these guys any day, or, really, any of a number of run-of-the-mill prog rock bands similar to Tiles, but if you’re an absolute enthusiast of the genre and can’t live without one more album of the same old stuff, Window Dressing will make a pleasant addition to your collection. Just don’t expect anything even remotely challenging.
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