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Porcupine Tree - Signify CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.85 | 1364 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars What is it? The first fully fledged album as a proper band and also having its own identify, much more character, and less obvious influences. Signify is a turning point for the band, beginning the transition from its earlier expansive style in order to focus on making songs. There is a good balance between both approaches.

Voice (3.5 stars) ? While 'Sleep of no Dreaming' continues the unremarkable timid singing from earlier albums, remaining songs have a more confident singer, a better ear for melody, and more impactful lyrics. Just listen to how tuneful and radio-friendly 'Waiting Phase 1' can be, or the overdubbed harmonies around 'Every Home is Wired' or the internalized angst from 'Dark Matter'. While 'Signify' is not the prime example of Porcupine Tree vocals, it is the first album where Steven Wilson's vocals become an important component to the overall product.

Sound (4 stars) ? Not only do we hear a proper band here, but we also get consistently superior sound production. The first great example is 'Waiting Phase 1 and 2' with acoustic guitars, hand percussion, and fluid bass lines creating a remarkable soundscape that never gets old. Hard rock works well with examples such as 'Sever', the King Crimson-inspired title track. Meanwhile, the electronic-tinged 'Idiot Prayer' revisits and improves upon the sound of earlier album "Up The Downstair", sprawling mid-tempo 'Dark Matter' shows the great potential that is yet to come, and the outstanding jam that is 'Intermediate Jesus' shows band chemistry as if they knew each other for decades.

Song (4.5 stars) ? Signify is about making songs and greatly success at it. The songwriting is more compact, confident, and yet does not fully abandon the expansive sound from preceding albums. While the vocal execution of 'Sleep of No Dreaming' is imperfect, you can tell the increased emphasis on having hooks. 'Sever' expands on the hard rock and hook-driven songwriting. A better example is the pair of 'Waiting' songs, instantly memorable melodies and some sense of trance-like ambience shaped by an increasingly foreboding bass line until it reaches a climax. Another example of improved songwriting is 'Idiot Prayer', which revisits the atmosphere from 'Up The Downstair' and improves upon it (it is maybe 2 minutes too long). On the ballad side of the spectrum, 'Every Home is Wired' is the band's best acoustic tune as of this point with great layering of vocal melodies and a tonal shift later on that somehow just works. Then you have 'Intermediate Jesus' ? another jam that is shaped by carefully constructed dynamics. Of course, you can't forget about the lengthy restrained angst that is 'Dark Matter', ultimately boiling over and ending with hard rock riffs.

Key tracks: Waiting Phase 1 & 2, Every Home is Wired, Intermediate Jesus, Dark Matter

Zitro | 4/5 |


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