Porcupine Tree
Signify


5.0
classic

Review

by scissorlocked USER (35 Reviews)
October 14th, 2011 | 229 replies | 10,267 views


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Only as loud as the silence it breaks

9 of 9 thought this review was well written

In a world where album names would be immensely important, where they would be more than just words which simply fall out from a person's mouth, and happen to be suitable for describing a whole relation of notes, lyrics, concepts and their entwined relations, Signify would be the most accurate one. Until we can confidently say that music can embody words and their mystical, mutable load of emotions and thoughts, Signify will stand as the most intelligent album name. And that's because it recognizes its mere communicational existence, and chooses to stay out of the game. It gives its music no qualities, no burdens to bear and only states its self-referentiality. Signify does not say a word about its content. It's just a bold statement, and one that couldn't be more sincere.

If all these sound bewildering and confusing, there's no problem in asking why. It's because Signify is such an album : torn between ethereal and gloomy melodies, between frustration and soothingness, aiming at the highest repletion while relentlessly struggling to find it. It's the sum of its ever-conflicting relations in both musical and lyrical level. Steven Wilson, while slowly waking from his psychedelic reality, admitted that he was always "in love with the idea of the rock band" because "bands have a kind of glamour, and appeal, and a romance about them the solo projects just don't have." This is the sound of a Wilson in transition - and maybe the best Wilson we'll ever get. Working on the creation of a more tight sound, while still obsessed with ambient textures and spacey tripping, the band's mainman inspired a breath of concentrated psychedelia dressed in poppier suits in Porcupine Tree's fourth studio album.

All these may sound wonderful, but what is more wonderful is the way the album feels consistent and flowing, whereas being created in a period of creative turmoil with such diverse influences dragging it to different directions. With this being apparent, the integrity of Signify is almost inexplicable. "Bornlivedie" aggressively begins the album, stating the exact, circular way of progression that it follows - from a vicious entrance to a completely strange world (born), through a paradoxical path of unity of the opposites (live), to a dreadful, yet reverent touch of necessity (die). The last lines of the album's closer, "Dark Matter", find Wilson in a state of benign completeness: " I am, I know ", he blithely utters. But before the end is reached, Signify still has to offer its plurality of emotions and themes. It needs to drift away with the notion of dying, and contemplate on this little thought. "The Sleep of No Dreaming" plays with death through the prism of adolescent skepticism : "At the age of sixteen I grew out of hope/ I regarded the cosmos through a circle of rope". "Waiting" and its two phases, with a conciliatory and smooth tone, is another affirmation on the same topic - this time like a Nietzchean "amor fati" fused with the psychedelic drug culture.

Signify reflects heavily the band's krautrock influences and their need to feel unrestrained as much as possible. Songs like "Idiot Prayer" or "Intermediate Jesus" create pensive and sometimes creepy atmospheres, using sampled voices and extensively distorted sounds. The melting guitar melodies often climax to full-orchestrated pandemoniums, or act like bridges to more rythmic tunes, like the addictive "Sever". Wilson's lyrical edge still shines through all these experimentation, surpassing the album's dark mood, managing to be critical, sarcastic and sometimes prophetic, while working on themes like death (as mentioned before) or postmodern social addictions. "Every Home is Wired" is a perfect example of the latter.

From its first note to its relaxed rather than dramatic closure, Signify cannot be characterized as a sad or joyous album. It strangely emits hope though its' overall mood is dark. It smiles cynically while dealing with subjects as death and loss. Its mocking nature is transcendental, to the extent of self-sarcasm. Either way, Porcupine Tree know it: This has become a full time career.



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user ratings (810)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
scissorlocked
October 14th 2011



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That first paragraph isn't that necessary but I wanted to include it

enjoy

Digging: Leon Vynehall - Music For The Uninvited

KILL
October 14th 2011



71134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good album

Digging: David Axelrod - Song of Innocence

johnnydeking29
October 14th 2011



9011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great album, might up it to a 4
Dark Matter, Every Home is Wored and Sleep Of No Dreaming FTW

Digging: Naked City - Radio

InAbsentia
October 14th 2011



3542 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fantastic album. Not my favorite by them, but great nonetheless.

Nice review.

scissorlocked
October 14th 2011



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks man

their discography is gold, but I prefer their second period which is more balanced I think

OneMoreRoland
October 14th 2011



1050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome album. Dark Matter is still one of my favorite songs of all time

scissorlocked
October 14th 2011



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dark matter is easily on their top 5 songs

zxlkho
October 14th 2011



3460 Comments


I wouldn't even rank this album in PT's top 5, but considering they're my favorite band ever, that
still means this album is fantastic.


Good review.

scissorlocked
October 14th 2011



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks zxlkho but I believe that this is their strongest album together with stupid deam

their third period is also amazing but the post 2002 album were a bit inconsistent when compared with these 2

except from FoaBP maybe...

Tyrael
October 14th 2011



20798 Comments


Blegh this band... Great review though!

bnelso55
October 14th 2011



160 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. Well-written and enticing. A pos to you.

I have heard a few songs off of this one, but I don't actually own it. I will have to check it out.

From the review:

"..because it recognizes its' mere communicational existence.."

I might be wrong here, but is the apostrophe on its' necessary?

tarkus
October 14th 2011



5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pre-In Absentia > Post-In Absentia

Jethro42
October 14th 2011



12388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review for a good album.

scissorlocked
October 14th 2011



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks for the feedback guys!!!

It seems that I'm the only person here that thinks this is that good. I just want to highlight that their earliest works are brilliant too

as for the apostrophes, I have to admit that I've got a small problem... I'll fix everything though


InAbsentia
October 14th 2011



3542 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Pre-In Absentia > Post-In Absentia"

Fuck you, man...

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2011



7346 Comments


Great review man.

I've never listened to this album. Given that I'm not a huge PT fan, that's hardly surprising.

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

scissorlocked
October 14th 2011



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Pre-In Absentia > Post-In Absentia"

I endorse!!

Cipieron
October 14th 2011



3508 Comments


i only own FoaBP, In Absentia, and Deadwing

but i do like this album

Jethro42
October 14th 2011



12388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pre-In Absentia > Post-In Absentia

Good try guys.

scissorlocked
October 14th 2011



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

it's true man. so true.yep. it's better.



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