Tiles Fly Paper

Detroit prog-rockers Tiles wear more than a few Rush influences on their sleeves: their fifth studio effort, Fly Paper, is produced by Terry Brown; the album cover is designed by Hugh Syme (who also plays keyboards on two songs); guest axe men include Kim Mitchell of long=time Rush touring partners Max Webster; and Alex Lifeson himself lends a "Limelight”-like solo to radio single "Sacred & Mundane.” Lead track "Hide in My Shadow” contains all the band’s signature licks (fluid bass, technical drums, etc.), which are compared so often to Rush, but it’s not until "Back & Forth” (with backing vocals by Alannah Myles) that fans get palpable Rush (circa "Vital Signs”) melodies. "Dragons, Dreams & Daring Deeds,” featuring Mitchell’s soloing, approaches Rush’s "Hemispheres” in several places, and the phrasing of "Landscrape” sounds like Rush’s Counterparts. The standout "Markers” brandishes a "Natural Science” trigonometry without sounding dated or obsequious. Vocalist Paul Rarick doesn’t sound like Ged, though; his pipes are less nasal, like Dream Theater’s James LaBrie or Styx’s Dennis DeYoung. Fly Paper is stately prog and the first truly great album of the year. (InsideOut/SPV)