I first got the opportunity to listen to nearLY’s Reminder about three weeks ago. There’s something about the instrumental cut that slowly guides you into a new place. It feels like something beyond time, above dates, superior to trend.
Listening to this album as I write this, I can’t help feeling the same way I did when I first gave it a spin – utterly, strangely at home. Pure comfort, which is something even I don’t understand in the slightest. But it does evoke something very deep within me, and it always seems to pull me back to try to peel another layer off, get closer to the core, the inner truth of what the artists are trying to say what part of their heart, mind, and soul (that being the largest ingredient in this piece) they poured into this album.
For the Nine Inch Nails fans among us (which I count myself as), you will recognize the name Jerome Dillon — he’s been the drummer of the ‘band’ (using the term loosely) since The Fragile era, and participated in both the With_Teeth recording and part of the accompanying tour. His own signature drumming style is present here in force – soft graceful rhythms, aggressive beats, and something utterly unique (“Release”). He is present in all of them, and he brings his own style and passion to each.
Another thing NIN fans will feel at home with, in some way, is the sound. You can hear the influence The Fragile had on Jerome, and the influence he himself had on With_Teeth’s unique take on sound and melody.
That, however, is where the similarity ends. Jerome may have a few mementos and reminders (that pun was very intentional) of his past projects, but this work is undoubtably something separate and unique. The sound, the lyrics, they are all together unique and stunning. It demands to be appreciated solely for its own merits, and succeeds on all counts.
Claudia Sarne brings her own seductive, almost unearthly, tone to the lyrics she sings. From the moment you first hear her voice, she possesses your attention and never lets up. Perhaps that’s why the album has so many instrumentals — no less than three; the other two musicians on the record wanted some attention for themselves, which they certainly deserve. Her intimate plea to her lover to “Step Into the Light” can only leave you heartbroken and crossing your fingers for a happy ending.
We’ve covered the drummer and the lead singer, which only leaves Brett Pierce. He’s the man who recorded/performed all the instruments on the album. This man has talent, ladies and gentleman. It’s not often you hear a sound style that mixes baroque strings and industrial-esque tones. Yet Brett pulls it all off with grace, passion, and verve rarely matched.
Now comes the hardest part of classifying the sound. Is it industrial? Classical? Medieval folk? A new branch of soul?
What I want to say here is “Listen.” But if I have to give an answer here, it would be “All of the above, and a pinch of something utterly new.”
Get it any way you can. It’s something that will entice you, change you inside and out, and then release you to the world, never to look at it the same way again.