Three years on from their somewhat stunning 2018 debut album, The Importance Of Mr Bedlam, The Paradox Twin release their second album. Like Mr Bedlam, there’s a theme running through the album but, whereas previously it was about aliens and life elsewhere in the universe, Silence from Signals tells of twin siblings (neurotypical sister and neurodivergent brother) and the trials and tribulations they go through while trying to navigate the brothers journey through life. The boy is disabled, the girl isn’t and, growing up, he struggles to grasp why he’s different. Abused by his father, he becomes an outcast because he’s different and ultimately drowns himself.
The story’s told through the medium of alt prog rock, with influences drawn from bands such as Anathema and Porcupine Tree, but with their own twists added to the mix. Like its predecessor, it’s a very atmospheric album with delightful soundscape textures creating an evocative mood. There’s more upfront guitar work than on Mr Bedlam and the combined harmony vocals of Nicole Johnson and Danny Sorrell are extremely good.
The album opens with an instrumental, ‘Paradigm’, which builds in intensity with some fine guitar work as it proceeds. This is followed by the single, ‘Wake Vortex’, which sees some lovely singing from Danny and Nicole. The boy is afraid to go to sleep and his twin sister’s reassuring him .”..open your mind, and wait for me to come to your heart”.
‘Sea Of Tranquillity’ is a very mellow song that explores the unique love between siblings, and there’s a gorgeous feel to this track. The eleven-minute epic ‘I Am Me, I Am Free’ opens with a driving beat, and the rhythm section of Graham Brown (drums) and Diane Fox (Bass) shines here. There’s more than a hint of Anathema to this track and it’s easy to imagine Lee Douglas singing this. ‘Prism Descent’ asks “can you wake me from this misery? All I see is a prism descent”. ‘Haptic Feedback‘ refers to communication by touch “..step into the light and take my hand tonight..” and this is a largely guitar-based song, with the occasional lurch into power metal. ‘Specular’, after a quiet intro, becomes a moody atmospheric piece “..I’m not afraid to die, I’m afraid to live..” as the song builds in intensity with good synth backing, with the last forty-five seconds a haunting piano line fading away. The quiet ‘Perfect Circles’ concludes the album with the refrain “it’s the earth I want to leave behind”.
The songs on this very impressive follow-up are well structured, well played with an absence of noodling, with a lyrical content that makes the listener think. I wondered if the Paradox Twin would be able to follow Mr Bedlam but they’ve suggested on this album it was no fluke, with Signals From Silence suggesting they’ve hit a rich creative streak which is serving them well.