(Review originally posted in Nocturnal Hall Magazine. Link to the original can be found here: http://www.nocturnalhall.com/reviews/H/harrison_polygraph_e.html)
Gavin Harrison – Cheating The Polygraph – 9.0/10
GAVIN HARRISON is a drummer who is most famous for his work with progressive rock bands such as Porcupine Tree and King Crimson. Over the past five years, he had been working on a project, which has finally been released in the year 2015. It is an album that celebrates the music of Porcupine Tree, the band that really helped get his name out. Released six years after the last Porcupine Tree album before they took their hiatus, it contains jazz big band covers of well-known and not so well known Porcupine Tree songs. The pieces are done in a contemporary big band jazz style. GAVIN of course handles the drumming on the album, and the rest of the album is handled by an assortment of flutes, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and fretless bass. The album’s opener, What Happens Now, takes a minute of buildup before finally arriving to the melodies that we are familiar with. However, the album takes liberties with the melodies and structures of the songs. The melodies are interweaving, creating dissonant and unusual patterns. The songs go off into fast solo sections with walking bass in the background. Certain tracks are combinations of Porcupine Tree songs such as Sound of Muzak mixed with So Called Friend orHatesong mixed with Halo. One of my favorite Porcupine Tree songs, Heartattack In A Layby, begins with melodic references to other Porcupine Tree songs before getting to the actual melodies of that song. GAVIN even includes just the middle section of the 17-minute song Anesthetize, as opposed to including the whole thing. Overall, this album shows a lot of creativity. It is an interesting track list that shows care when choosing diverse songs that would work well together, as opposed to just choosing the most popular songs. Most importantly, it surprised me how good it is as a whole album. It stays interesting and keeps the listener guessing as to what is going to happen next. GAVIN really shines throughout with some of the most impressive beats and fills of his career. This is definitely a must listen to for any diehard fans of Porcupine Tree, but it is also a must listen to for people who have an open mind to different styles of music. I would love to see another one of these albums in the future, as there are so many more Porcupine Tree songs that could benefit from this treatment. But let’s hope that it doesn’t take another five years.