Bookended by two tracks that essentially are the same piece -- "Everywhere," a quicker, almost dancy number that still sounds uniquely Cranes, and the slower, stripped-down "Rainbows" -- Forever finds Cranes moving from strength to strength. Having reached a new level of variety and elegant restraint combined with brusque power on Wings of Joy, the foursome continued exploring such combinations on Forever without simply rehashing the previous album. If anything, the album went to extremes in both directions -- the quieter moments were even more hushed and shadowed, the louder points all that much more whip-snap cruel. "Cloudless" remains the album's most sweetly beautiful, truly haunting moment. Over what sounds like a synthesized combination of plucked violin and keyboards, doubtless played by Jim Shaw, sister Alison delivers a softly husky vocal that slowly grows in strength. More synth strings swell up in the background, just enough, followed later by gentle electric guitar and at the end distant drums. On a completely different tip, there's "Clear," its searing, blunt lead guitar line matched by a massive rhythm slam, only occasionally interrupted by a quieter moment or two before launching back into the full band attack. "Jewel" ended up being a surprise U.K. and U.S. hit, though thanks to a somewhat transformed remix courtesy of longtime fan Robert Smith (in fact, Forever takes its name from a Cure rarity of the same title). On the album, Jim Shaw's original rougher drums stand out, but the attractive poppy groove of the song remains the same, Alison Shaw's singing at her clearest yet over the simple but effective acoustic guitar rhythms and abrasive electric solo. Other highlights include the minimal piano-led "Far Away," with some of Alison's best vocals; the narcotic guitar chime of "Golden"; and the dramatic, blasting surge of "Adrift."
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett