First posted on echoesanddust.com.
Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison offers up an interesting album experience with his solo endeavor ‘Cheating The Polygraph’. Combining a team of talented performers alongside a track-list comprising an interesting range of Porcupine Tree songs, spanning most of their discography, Harrison offers up a ‘big band’ album experience, one that sees new ideas and techniques being drawn out of progressive rock songs in a much different format. There’s a lot of merit to ‘Cheating The Polygraph’, which is certainly a big and grand album experience, though one wonders with all the effort Harrison has gone to push out an album of this caliber, who is at all really for?
‘Cheating The Polygraph’ feels like a rather grand album experience, utilizing the talents of a very tight sounding big band to present a range of Porcupine Tree material in a very different context. There’s an interesting selection of tracks reinvented on the album, some of which see Harrison combining various tracks together to create a much more different experience. Everything feels incredibly seamless and almost effortless, all combining in a very comfortable way, showcasing such a great understanding of the original source material and how new and different ideas can be drawn out if it.
Whilst there’s enjoyable elements to ‘Cheating The Polygraph’, there’s a sense that much of the album experience is simply an indulgent effort purely for Harrison himself, as opposed to something for absolutely everyone. Everything sounds incredibly tight and well presented, but there seems to be very little happening to really retain the attention of the listener, except for interest in hearing the reinvention in comparison to their original counterparts. There’s almost a dull quality to much of the tracks as they simply offer amusement in reinvention, rather than creating something that stands on equal ground to the original versions of the tracks.
Harrison’s very grand and large-scale album ‘Cheating The Polygraph’ certainly offers something that’s interesting for the most part, and very tight-sounding, though there’s something that seems to be missing under the surface of all the big band instrumentals. Everything sounds incredibly professional, very well crafted and envisioned, with there being a wonderful and impressive tightness to the band, who all present Harrison’s reworkings confidently and effortlessly, but there seems to be a lack of any driving force that manages to retain much of the listener’s interest.
- ★★★☆☆ 3/5
- Sound of Muzak / So Called Friend
- Heartattack In A Layby / Creator Had A Mastertape
- The Pill’s I’m Taking (From Anesthetize)
- Hatesong (Halo)
Gavin Harrison’s new album ‘Cheating The Polygraph’ is out now.