The Paradox Twin was formed by singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboard player, Danny Sorrell who, following the writing of the band’s debut album ‘The Importance of Mr. Bedlam’, walked into Outhouse Studio, the well known recording studio run by producer and musician extraordinaire John Mitchell, for the recording.
John was so impressed with what he heard that he suggested to Chris Hillman, John’s partner in the White Star Records label, that they should release the album. Chris was as impressed as John was, and so the band were signed to the label, with John providing a guitar solo on the track, ‘Moonblood’ and vocalist Kim Seviour also providing a guest vocal on the same track.
Although the first album was apparently based around alien conspiracies, this second album has a very different concept, with inspiration coming from Danny’s own family experiences. In the same week that ‘The Importance of Mr Bedlam’ was released, Danny’s second son was born and also around the same time his eldest son, was diagnosed with autism. Negatives and positives colliding at the same time made Danny consider why different things happen to different people and the effects that it has on their lives.
These thoughts inspired Danny to create the theme and focus on a story of twins, a boy and a girl. The boy is disabled and the girl isn’t. As the boy grows up he struggles to understand why he is different. The boy is also abused by his father, becomes outcast for being so different and the sombre result is that he ultimately drowns himself. Although it is a dark story, Danny hopes that the powerful feel of the music and lyrics will help make people more aware and understand the difficulties of autism and he says : ‘I wanted to do something a bit different on the album, making people aware of something they have probably heard of but don’t know much about, by creating some powerful music and lyrics that will hopefully move people emotionally’.
‘Paradigm’ is a scene-setter, a three minute instrumental opener of the kind that Mr Parsons’ Project used to favour, but here used to raise the expectations as well as the hairs on the back of your neck. Kudos for Diane’s bass in it, btw. ‘Wake Vortex’ continues, alternate female and male vocals setting the scene over some delicious keys and synths before the inevitable launch into the searing, searching chorus. A descending chord pattern is used to great effect. Some super mood changes and tone shifts from prog metal to atmospheric acoustic work very well. The notable element in this track btw is Danny’s strong vocals.
What I enjoy about this album is that the tracks, whatever their length, do not outstay their welcome – the song really takes precedent over any flashy self-serving solos. ‘Sea of Tranquility’ is a case in point at just under 5 minutes of well-constructed, gorgeous sounding music that matches the song title in full. Great melody, super harmonies, clever chord changes, and hauntingly memorable. A favourite.
‘I am me I am free’ is an 11 minute epic, with a mellotron-like beginning before the rhythmic opening section introduces some atmospheric synth sounds supporting Danny’s vocals. Complex drum patterns drive the song on as tension ebbs and flows, melodies sung that drip with reverb creating a sense of longing. A tasteful lead guitar mid-song takes the listener to a sudden calm midi section, spoken soundbite and superb reprise with driving bass beat, increasing in its rhythmic intensity. It’s a satisfying whole that reaches a satisfying conclusion. Think Anathema meet the Engineers with a bit of later Pure Reason Revolution.
‘Prism Descent’ has an atmospheric beginning which soon gives way to a dramatic track packed with high emotion. ‘Haptic Feedback’ is a hypnotic track that has a bit of Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), and perhaps for this reason is one of my favourites on this album. ‘Specular’ is another mini epic. Haunting. Emotive. Natural transitions of tempo, mood, emotion and melodic impact. Great use of different and combined vocals. Another favourite. Album closer ‘Perfect Circles’ continues their rich emotively burning and anthemic melodic vein. I’ve praised bass and vocals previously. Keys and drums get the vote this time round.
Talking votes, apparently prog award nominees, let’s hope this album sees some award wins. This is an accomplished, consumate album of quality songwriting and performance.
- Wake Vortex
- Sea of Tranquility
- I am me. I am free.
- Prism Descent
- Haptic Feedback
- Perfect Circles
Danny Sorrell / vocals, keyboards, guitars, programming
Diane Fox / bass
Nicole Johnson / vocals
Leland Freeman / guitars
Graham Brown / drums, percussion