Signify review by Porcupine Tree

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1996
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.6 (22 votes)
Porcupine Tree: Signify

Sound — 10
Porcupine Tree's fourth album, released in 1996, saw the band solidify into the now easily recognized Porcupine Tree style. As is usual with any album involving Steven Wilson, the production is, at worst, breathtaking. As is his characteristic, Wilson superbly blends the perfect amount of technology and tradition. The album starts with an atmospheric piece (Breathlivedie), setting a very introspective mood, as well as setting the stage for what is all in all, a very introspective album. This track neatly transitions into the upbeat, tension building title track. The driving guitar and straightforward beat neatly compliment the lead work. The song is followed by a breather of sorts (The Sleep Of No Dreaming), further setting a pensive mood to the album as a whole. The rather melodic, yet melancholy arrangement projects the theme of the album as a whole, allowing room for its expansion. As it fades, the foreboding theme of the albums fourth track (Pagan) provides an excellent contrast to the following track, Waiting Phase One, which is full of turmoil and emotion. Phase One leaves us off in mayhem, flowing into its sister track, Waiting Phase Two. After the turmoil of the previous track, this classic Porcupine Tree piece builds from quiet introspection into a twisting and ebbing masterpiece, only to drop off in an almost post-coital stillness. After such a journey, the seventh track, Sever, is an interesting variation. Still building on the melancholic and foreboding theme, the track is a showcase of classic Wilson vocalization. The next track, Idiot Prayer, is of similar make to Waiting Phase Two, but in no means similar. A mellow acoustic intro leads into the crooning verses of Every Home is Wired, the ninth song. The album peaks at the tenth track, Intermediate Jesus, providing a perfect climax. The album tapers out with a gloomy pieice aptly titled Light Mass Prayer. The journey finishes off with the nine minute opus Dark Matter. The track is full of heavy and mellow contrast, and provides excellent closure to this moody and intellectual work.

Lyrics — 10
Signify is an excellent chance to observe Steven Wilson in his lyrical element. His lyrics are arranged in simple and direct terms, but when viewed under closer scrutiny yield more than originally assumed. From the emotionally direct verses of The Sleep Of No Dreaming, to the cryptic and psychological weavings of Sever, Signify leaves plenty of material worth more than a passing glance. As well as the lyrical prowess displayed in this record, Wilson's vocal work is impressive, and his harmonies and melodies fit right in with the albums theme and feel.

Overall Impression — 10
In conclusion, this is a classic Porcupine Tree album, giving a good mix of the heavy, the light, the simple, and the complex. There is a great amount of atmosphere and melody, but at the same time a healthy mix of atonality and introspection. This is a solid and memorable album, easily viable with any other Porcupine Tree creation.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Les Gibson
    i was really underwhelmed when I heard this album, unfortunately: very disappointing. Nowhere near as good as "Stupid Dream", or for that matter anything else porcupine tree have done (except perhaps for "Lightbulb Sun").