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Porcupine Tree — Signify
(Delerium DELEC CD045, 1996, CD)

by Steve Robey, Published 1997-02-01

Signify Cover art

On their latest release, Signify, Porcupine Tree continues to consolidate and refine the approach used on their previous release, The Sky Moves Sideways. While Sky was essentially a one-man show by multi-instrumentalist Stephen Wilson (guitars, vocals, samples, keys), this latest album represents more of a group effort. Wilson receives able backing by Richard Barbieri (ex-Japan, Raintree Crow), Colin Edwin (bass), and Chris Maitland (drums). The result is a more immediate, concise sound that distances the band from its reputation as a Floyd-derived space-rock band. The difference is apparent at the outset, with the hard-driving riffing of the title track. From there, the album alternates between atmospheric synthesized instrumentals, semi-acoustic vocal songs, and more killer riffing with Gilmour-like guitar solos. Many of the pieces are punctuated with distant-sounding spoken parts (the audio-verite effect of radio broadcasts pops up now and then), giving continuity to the impressive flow of ideas and styles. The shorter pieces and greater variety of styles makes this a more immediately likable album than Sky, though I would definitely recommend that album as well (see #8 for a Roundtable review). Porcupine Tree occupies a well-traveled but welcome subgenre in the field of modern progressive rock. Both challenging and accessible at the same time, this album is sure to win over some new fans.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Porcupine Tree, Richard Barbieri, Steven Wilson / I.E.M., Colin Edwin

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