Deee-Lite: World Clique (Cherry Pop)

World Clique (Expanded Edition)
Cherry Pop

“We’re going to dance, and have some fun!”

This line, sampled from a vintage instructional dance album, heralded in one of the best songs of the final decade of the Twentieth Century. “Groove Is In The Heart” was credited to the trio Deee-Lite, formed in New York City, yet in their bizarre costumes (seeming both retro and futuristic), they seemed to be from an entirely unknown galaxy, sent down shortly before the forthcoming global conflict in the Middle East. It was most certainly a balm; it was pure pop pleasure, a day-glow aural experience that was pure ear candy. World Clique, the band’s debut album, kept the party going; this expanded reissue furthers the album’s party and shows just how well this music has aged. (Case in point: the second disc of this expanded reissue contains most of the remixes from the era, and none of them fall guilty of sounding dated—indeed a rarity for remixes!)

World Clique, their debut album, followed. If “Groove Is In The Heart” was the party invitation, their debut album was a nonstop rave party, one that blended samples and soul and hip-hop and dance music in such a way that it felt as if it had no rivals. Fronted by Lady Miss Kier, the band’s soul/dance manifesto was that of peace and love. It was also about great songs, and there were plenty to be had.“Good Beat” was indeed that; a club hit with Kier channeling her inner Aretha Franklin, while “Try Me On…I’m Very You” and “Who Was That” were humorous songs that never felt hokey. Better still was “Power Of Love,” the band’s second single; though it didn’t fare quite as high as its predecessor did, it stripped away the charming novelty of “Groove…” in favor of some straightforward soul, resulting in a house classic that proved Deee-Lite was no novelty act.

Unfortunately, the world didn’t see them as anything but. At the time, I felt that they would never be able to replicate World Clique. So original, so weird, so fun—one can only pull that off once. Sadly, history proved that to be the case. Their follow-up album, Infinity Within, was dull and dreadful; timed in part with the 1992 Presidential election, they went along with the liberal party line, making the mistake of being too political, preachy, and didactic. Their third and final album, 1994’s Dewdrops in the Garden, attempted to scale back the political messages, but it was too little, too late; the novelty had worn off, and the band quietly split.  Still, one can’t be too dismissive, as World Clique was a brilliant debut and a masterpiece that still sounds fresh, vital, and fun twenty-seven years after its release.

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