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Porcupine Tree - Signify CD (album) cover

SIGNIFY

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.81 | 865 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Significant shift

"Signify" is a solid album which bridges the longer, spacier compositions of "Downstair" and "Sky Moves Sideways" to the songs-based beginnings of "Stupid Dream" and "Lightbulb." It feels like a cohesive conceptual album with bits and pieces of assorted dialogue linking the songs together. The album connects easily to new listeners with accessible space-rock in shorter doses, melodic leads, and easily assimilated choruses. In contrast to the previous albums with their long and less penetrable soundscapes, "Signify" marks the spot where PT fans who enjoy their latter day accessibility should board the bus.

The album opens with a 1950s era radio announcer telling the listener to grab some coffee and kick back for a few hours of relaxing music (and at the end tells them they've just been through a heavy session of electro-shock therapy!) After some sound effects mind clutter the title track finds Wilson and Co launching straight into an intense riff. Pure guitar squall follows in a replay of what the previous album offered, and while the intensity is here, brevity is introduced. Here they serve up the psych-space appetizers in more digestible portions. Rather quickly "The Sleep of No Dreaming" shows a new side of PT, one which would become more front and center in the future. A rather predictable song structure with a repetitious and melodic chorus, allowing someone to actually sing along. After another short trippy interlude called "Pagan" comes the two part stunner "Waiting." This is a beautiful track that captures the Lightbulb Sun era magic with lovely acoustic strumming and delicate harmonies in the style of "She's Moved On." In front of gorgeous synth-strings and sweet bubbly bass, Wilson lays down the most beautiful leads here. Part two drops the sweetness and gets spacey again for 6 minutes of cosmic. After a couple harder-edged tracks "Every Home is Wired" reverts back to the softer first part of "Waiting." The words of an evangelical minister are laced throughout "Immediate Jesus" and its tinkling piano and space squalls. "Dark Matter" is another real gem closing the album with contemplative lyrics and a certain sad mood.

Some of the tracks I didn't mention are less effective and the album is not a masterpiece, but for those who want to hear the band they would become in their embryonic state, yet after the long winded earlier material, you won't regret trying Signify. Get the two disc set which features a second CD of demos from 1995-96.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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