Progressive pop rock band Preacher‘s Signals was released sometime in 2013. Unlike other progressive albums I’ve reviewed, Preacher concentrates on maintaining a catchy listenable melodic feel to their music. I’d compare it most to Pink Floyd in that a lot of the time people forget how progressive and experimental Pink Floyd is due to how big their hits are.
For instance, opening track Time doesn’t have odd time signatures, at least not ones that stand out, but it still blends in many instruments that, even though they aren’t uncommon, somehow Preacher manages to mix them all together in a way that I hear from bands like the previously mentioned Pink Floyd or Alan Parsons Project (who coincidentally also have a song called Time). It makes for a good opener to the album because its slow and only at times does the music truly pick up, much like the album that follows the song.
But like Pink Floyd, there are songs present on Signals where Preacher use their melodic sensibility far more than they use their progressive capabilities. Jupiter To Mars for instance is a slow ballad, greatly written in to being what I believe most would find to be the most catchy song on the album, while still mixing in so many instruments – instruments so often used by even the least progressive of bands, however Preacher just find a way to use them differently. The title track to Signals also serves as a song that’s more melodic than progressive, despite its length, but my favourite would have to be Destiny. Much like the previous two mentioned tracks, it carries progressive elements that I don’t find most bands are capable of, but it concentrates more on being a catchy song than a complex one, and in such fine fashion.
While I single out those three songs, the rest of Signals still doesn’t differ too much. The Sea, Fat Cats and Cry 4 Help, while all very catchy and melodic, still have experimentation to them. Despite all three songs being of a slow somewhat sullen sound feature elements that differentiate them. Fat Cats, for example, has a bit of jazz influence to it, particularly in its intro, while Cry 4 Help shaves away much of the bass and drums for the first half to make for a nice acoustic song that sounds unlike anything else by Preacher.
Signals starts to notably change course after its title track with the following three songs. Arrival is an instrumental. Admittedly it is similar musically to the rest of the album but it gives the musical aspect of Preacher a much deserved spotlight and at no point does the music start to wane. First Contact and The Factor have a groove that the rest of Signals doesn’t have, and when their instruments, particularly the electric guitars and organ sounds, are played at their loudest, they have a little more meat to them compared to others on the album. Friends Of My Dreams is the hardest and loudest song of any on the album, giving a much needed change of direction for the album. Unfortunately it comes so far toward the end.
Preacher end Signals with one of the softest songs on the album. I’ll Be There isn’t one of the best songs on the album over others present on Signals, but keeps the spacey sound that has been followed throughout the album and when the song picks up toward the end, it has some of the most passionate melodies I’ve heard from the band thus far. I like the song as a closer, especially for just how it picks up toward the end.
This is the second album that I’ve been given to review this year that wasn’t actually released in 2015, which is just unfortunate because both albums may have easily made my top albums of 2015 list. Had I made a best of 2013 list, I’d like to think Preacher‘s Signals would have been on it. There is a sense of intelligence and maturity to Preacher that I don’t hear in any other progressive band I’ve reviewed before, and they certainly stand out above most crowds. Their songs could maybe sound a little different from one another, and by that I mean the tempo, but regardless Signals is one fine album.
“Jupiter to Mars” – I feel this would be the most widely accepted song that people would choose to be their favourite from the album. I don’t usually pick highlights based on that, but Jupiter to Mars has an innocence and intelligence to it like no other track on the album and it carries a spacey sound to it (I mean look at the title) similar to a way I’d classify much of Signals.It’s sure to catch anyone’s attention.
8.5 (Out of 10)
|2||Jupiter to Mars||Preacher||5:02|
|5||Cry 4 Help||Preacher||3:36|
|10||Friends of My Dreams||Preacher||3:58|
|12||I’ll Be There||Preacher||4:33|