This Downriver-based Detroit quartet has explored many facets of original rock during its career, especially after augmenting a traditional guitar-centric lineup with various acoustic stringed instruments, including banjo, mandolin and violin. The group — which is comprised of guitarist Chris Herin, vocalist Paul Rarick, bassist Mark Evan and drummer Jeff Whittle — has also added slices of keyboards and ethnic percussion to a mix that's been described in the past as "prog rock" (a much overlooked form in the Detroit area).
Tiles' previous recorded works have all demonstrated a willingness to take chances and fearlessly follow a creative muse. With Fly Paper, that progressive aesthetic still exists but has been refined even more via tighter song arrangements, rawer and edgier sounds, and more direct lyrical statements.
The group's last album, Window Dressing, veered into uncharted waters with extended jams, dark idiosyncratic themes, flirtations with brass, and reflective acoustic piano etudes. Here, however, they return to their early '90s origins by presenting loud and proud rockers, such as "Hide in My Shadow" and "Landscrape."
Canadian musical auteur Terry Brown, who helmed the last project, returns to oversee these proceedings, and the former Rush producer has enlisted the help of that band's guitarist Alex Lifeson to guest on the incendiary "Sacred and Mundane." Other music industry heavyweights offering their services to Fly Paper include Allanah Myles (of "Black Velvet" fame) and former Max Webster axe man Kim Mitchell.
Keyboardist Hugh Syme (who also designed the album cover), percussionist Sonya Mastick, Detroit multi-instrumentalist Matthew Parmenter and vocalist Nate Mills round out a distinguished cast of session players that help make this one of Tiles' best and most appealing efforts to date.
Eric Harabadian writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].