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Porcupine Tree - Signify CD (album) cover

SIGNIFY

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.80 | 884 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Any Colour You Like
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Signify is an enigma in the Porcupine Tree discography. It is one of those albums that seems to be overshadowed by both the albums that preceded it and subsequently followed. However it stands out in its own right as one of the most accomplished works the band ever produced.

I must admit that it took me a few listens to full understand and enjoy Signify, it is not an easy album to simply pick up, listen to and enjoy. First of all, it is not space rock, nor fully psych, it has unclassifiable and eclectic mix of Krautrock influences, alt rock, ambient and even hints of metal. The song structures are generally shorter than those found in Up the Downstair and The Sky Moves Sideways, but the music still progresses in an overly coherent manor. In typical PT fashion, the lyrics are depressing and dreamlike, focused around themes of consciousness, introversion and religion. Personally, Steven Wilson's lyrical ability peaked with this album, as none of the lyrics sound too abstract nor over-zealous. The band themselves are also very tight, the sound is crisp, and production is typically polished. If anything, the ambient filler tracks found throughout the album detract from the flow, and perhaps stretch the running time a little bit too far. Signify would have felt much more accessible and complete with 5-10 minutes less filler.

The stand out tracks include the Krautrock-ish rocker Signify, the ethereal chorus heavy Sleep of No Dreaming and the masterfully groovy and psychedelic Idiot Prayer. However, without any hesitation, the zenith of Signify is Dark Matter, a beautify and introspective track that slowly builds into an amazing Gilmour-esque guitar solo. It is easily one of Porcupine Tree's greatest compositions, and gives the conclusion of the album one of those wonderful "what have I just heard" moments. It is somewhat disappointing to note that the ambient filler detracts from the overall succinct nature of the album. It really does feel like the band is in a transitional mood, a change made obvious on their following album, Stupid Dream. Fortunately, the times where ambient filler jams take over are not overly long, and are balanced out by some typically polished songwriting. If you were lucky enough to pick up the 2004 remaster, then you will also get the 2nd CD, Insignificance which contains a plethora of unreleased tracks, early mixes and even an acoustic cover of Nine Cats. Whilst not an essential listen by any means, I must recommend it to PT trainspotters and collectors alike.

I am disappointed to see this album rated so low in comparison to other PT releases, it is a grower, and must be given time to absorb properly. As is typical of this era of PT, anyone who lets the music get under their skin will never forget it. For while Signify falls short of the lofty standards of TSMS, it has more than enough to offer any prog fan with a penchant for depressing psychedelic and ambient music.

Any Colour You Like | 4/5 |

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