Jerome Dillon, the motivating force in Nearly (or, as he prefers to capitalize it, "nearLY"), was the drummer in Nine Inch Nails for six years (1999-2005), but that information offers only a little help in appreciating his debut solo project, Reminder. Dillon's music shares much of Nine Inch Nails' intensity and pessimism, but only some of its industrial noise content. In fact, with its use of strings and keyboards, it would be closer to a pop sound if Dillon didn't focus on the beats and a consistent midrange drone over the chords and vocalist Claudia Sarne's melodies. But then, Dillon is not aiming for pop music. As he explains in the press materials, Reminder is a dream project for him, in an almost literal sense. He says he spent six years dreaming the same dream, or rather, a nightmare that involved a mysterious woman and his own drowning. This inspired the music for the album, to the point that he kept a tape recorder beside his bed. The nightmare itself does not figure in the lyrics co-written with Sarne, but certainly the mood they express is consistent with a nightmare, as the titles "Straight to Nowhere," "All Is Lost," and "Wrong" attest. And the songs with apparently less nihilistic titles are just as downcast. "Prins Hendrik" refers to the Amsterdam hotel where jazz trumpeter Chet Baker met his mysterious death, while "Mary Vincent" is an actual woman who was raped and mutilated. Only a cover of Afghan Whigs' "Step into the Light," with the band's singer Greg Dulli singing half the lyrics, offers some respite. Thus, Dillon demonstrates that, while he may have left Nine Inch Nails behind, he has taken a measure of the band's gloom along with him for his solo career, albeit more subtly expressed.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann