Arts Story

by Staff

After years of independent success overseas, Euro-rockers Porcupine Tree try to cross over to the American mainstream with their latest effort, “Signify” (Delirium Records). “Signify” is the fifth album of Porcupine Tree godfather Steven Wilson, who has been making music under that guise since the late ’80s.

The new album is the first in which Wilson incorporated three other full-time musicians, including a drummer to replace the previously synthesized drums.

Self-styled as an avant-garde, progressive-rock group, Porcupine Tree starts its album with a selection of samples and voice-overs leading into the title track “Signify,” an instrumental that is the only heavy song on the album.

From there the album slows and never recovers from a series of boring ambient/soft-rock tracks, leaving the listener to feel fooled by the album’s quick start. Most of the tracks sound like they belong in a “Sounds of Nature” CD, and become repetitive without much for the listener to grab hold of.

In its best moments, the album is vaguely reminiscent of Pink Floyd, but without any groove or that “I can’t believe this is the ’70s” feeling because it’s not ? it’s the ’90s, and Porcupine Tree has yet to realize it.

The lightly used electronic instrumentation and samples effective in attaining an ambient mood, but the guitars are annoyingly archaic and Wilson’s vocals uncaptivating. Porcupine Tree may find it hard to cross over and play successfully for an American audience as Signify doesn’t bring anything that’s very original or can’t be found at the Nature Store.