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First time to be released on vinyl, this long out of print CD only album is remastered by Mikey Young for a deluxe 2LP version on Black Vinyl with an exclusive etching on Side 4. A total Underground classic. Sleep Now Forever is the second and final album released by Sorrow, the post-Strawberry Switchblade group fronted by singer Rose McDowall. Originally released in 1999 and long since deleted it is a cornucopia of pastoral, elegiac folk music, swirling atmospherics, hymnal compositions and above it all the alternating towering and fragile vocal performances of McDowall. Recorded in the late 90s with fellow band member and co-songwriter Robert Lee, Sleep Now Forever is the definitive statement by the now defunct group and Rose McDowall’s most complete long-form work to date. Released through the group’s own Piski Disk Records, Sleep Now Forever was distributed by World Serpent which struggled through the early 2000s with financial woes, eventually folding due to bankruptcy in 2004. Due to the company’s troubles, Sleep Now Forever was never distributed widely and was a victim of the company’s failure. Released on CD only, original copies are now rare and only traded on second hand channels.

Despite its rarity, Sleep Now Forever enjoys a firm cult following. The album’s textures are expansive, lush, deliciously detailed and celestial. Recorded in home study Velvet Hole by Rose McDowall and then-husband Robert Lee, the album enlists an array of players from the underground Neo-folk / industrial scene: Nigel McKernaghan (Uilleann pipes, Whistles), Susan Franknel (Bassoon), John Contreras (Cello) and Lawrence Frankel (Oboe, Cor Anglais). The eleven songs here revolve around McDowall’s instantly recognisable voice. Brought up singing in the Catholic Church, McDowall’s vocals are impeccable and angelic, particularly on tracks like Turn Off The Light where her experiences with religion are canted over soaring oboe and guitar backing. By far the most evolved and realised version of Sorrow’s vision, it feels somewhat criminal that music this beautiful could be lost to time until now. McDowall’s lyrics throughout Sleep Now Forever deal frankly with mental health, depression, altered states, death and redemption. Wave upon wave of harmony drench each song, McDowal’s vocal multi-tracked and imperious. Opener Soldier benefits from Robert Lee’s use of the studio as instrument, summoning forth a lilting group performance of sparkling guitar and percussion that recalls the Velvet Underground. Mikey Love’s master treats the compositions to brand new frequency dynamics and space. Harmonium and string drones form the counter to McDowall’s vocal on Love Dies, a slow, lurching lament that feels transcendent. On Haunting, the arrangement is orchestral and aching, bleeding into Fear Becomes You, with chord and harmony structure that recalls the baroque sixties pop of West Coast Pop Experimental Art Band or the 60s psychedelic folk movement. A towering, beautiful statement, this elegy for times lost and moonlit-illumination is finally resurfacing from the darkness.