Tile - Anywhere [Lava Church Records - 2013]
“Anywhere” is the new full-length cassette by Tile on Florida’s Lava Church Records. For those unfamiliar, Tile is the side-project of Jeff Busko, perhaps better known for his work under the Sky Stadium moniker.
The art follows the same aesthetic as other titles released with the recent batch of Lava Church offerings. It’s all black and white art with clean lettering. This is even more minimal in appearance than the Black Beast of Arrrghhh cassette I previously reviewed. Outside the artist name and title, only a large black dot graces the cover. I like the minimalist aesthetic and it seems to lend well to the music at hand.
Onto the tunes.... Tile sounds like an almost perfect marriage between the synth-pop of Iron Curtain and the vocal-stylings of Ian Curtis. I tried to refrain from the Joy Division reference, but I’ll be damned if Mr. Busko’s vocals don’t sound eerily similar to Ian’s. Unsurprisingly, the album deals with themes of love, loss, and anxiety, yet I didn’t find it to be sad bastard music at all. As a matter of fact I found the album to rather uplifting in mood, if not intent. Dare I say, “Anywhere” even jovial at times. The tracks alternate between mid-tempo to faster paced synth jams. The tracks are relatively short, most running under the 2 ½ minute mark. The one track that tends to stick out from the rest is the final song “Star Fleet,” which is a darker, fuzzed out synth jam.
Overall it sounds undeniably familiar, yet surprisingly fresh. “Anywhere” definitely pulls a feather from the cap of a veritable who’s who of of 80’s new wave references, which is a very good thing in my book. If underground synth-pop is your bag, you can do no better than Tile. A nice mixture of sad bastard vocal crooning and upbeat synth work. Hal Harmon