Window Dressing

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On their fourth album, Tiles continue to demonstrate that progressive rock doesn't have to mean either goofy pseudo-mysticism or wanky bloviation. That's not to say that these guys are exactly concise -- the album's title track runs over 17 minutes -- but they generally avoid the standard prog rock trap of trying to impress through empty grandiosity. Even when their songs are on the long side, they're skillfully and tightly crafted and the playing is disciplined and interesting. That's especially true on the instrumentals; "Stop Gap" and "Unicornicopia," both of which feature guest violinist Matthew Parmenter, offer spikily complex rock and nicely unsentimental neoclassicism, respectively, and are among the album's more impressive and enjoyable moments, and "A.02" is a lovely little new acoustic miniature. As for the songs, the metal-flavored "Paintings" and "Capture the Flag" are both enjoyably dense and crunchy and feature fine, clear singing by Paul Rarick. Overall, this is an album that will likely appeal equally to aging Jethro Tull fans and thirtysomething King's X fans alike. Recommended.

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