World Clique is the 1st album by Deee-Lite (who at the time comprised of Lady Miss Kier on Vocals, Super DJ Dimitri on DJ/Scratching & Samples and DJ Towa Tei on DJ/Scratching, Samples & Keyboards) and it was released by Elektra Records on August 7th, 1990. The band met in New York with Kier writing vocals (as well as creating the bands image, costumes and all album graphics), Dmitri & Towa Tei bought different styles of DJ'ing & Towa Tei created additional rhythms on keyboards.
Kier and Dmitri were a couple during their time in the band and Towa was friends with them both. It made for an unusual band dynamic but Towa never seemed like a gooseberry during performances.
Its highest recorded chart position was #14 in the UK Top 40 album chart and the record attained Gold status by December of 1990.
I bought this on cassette when I was doing my trade training at RAF Hereford where it proved to be a great source of comfort and relaxation during the constant pressures of studying. Despite Wikipedia's contrary claims "Deee-Lite Theme" & "Build the Bridge" WERE both included on the general album release, my cassette version certainly has both tracks on it.
All tracks written by Deee-Lite unless otherwise stated.
So whats on World Clique then?
1. "Deee-Lite Theme" (Deee-Lite, Herbie Hancock) 2:10
A great start with a rocking saxophone intro (most of the brass section on this is sampled from a Herbie Hancock tune) with Kier introducing us the World Clique movement from her vocals.
2. "Good Beat" 4:40
And straight into another dance orientated tune with big House inspired drum lines, Kier tells us no matter what situation you find yourself in its fine as long as you've got a great tune to keep your spirits lifted. Kiers multitracked vocal is stunning, she is very much the killer siren luring you into her trap of amazing dance tunes. And yes there is a sample from "Pump Up The Volume" in there too, well done for spotting it!
3. "Power of Love" 4:40
This one really harkens back to the Age Of Aquarius with Kiers simple vocal, the writing on this (and most of the other tracks) were never going to win any Ivor Novello awards for originality but they express a wonderful if somewhat simple sentiment.
Belief in the power of love. Kier had obviously attended the 2 Unlimited school of lyrics for this track. The tune again has many Chicago House influences especially the piano lines.
4. "Try Me on... I'm Very You" 5:14
This has a more old school breakbeat style in its dischordant delivery, I think this is quite influencial as the Hammond organ lines are straight from what go on to be the Madchester "Baggy" sound, I also believe this tracks lyrics influenced Mobys early work as Kirby sings about "How it feels for it to be so real" and Mobys 1st record was "Feeling so real". Another cracking brass section, laid back upright piano and simple breakbeat drums. You can really hear how this influenced artists like Bizarre Inc (circa "I'm gonna get you").
5. "Smile On" 3:55
Ambient drums? A very rare thing. Kier sings about a simple smile can break down the barriers of communication, its not exactly going to stop wars but its a lovely idea. This track feels like Bootsy Collins had a lot to do with its creation, its got a very funky feel about it. Very psychedelic with the dischordant xylophones.
6. "What is Love?" 3:38
The B side of "Groove Is In The Heart" but also one of the coolest tracks on the album, its very minimal with the organ chords. Its practically a master class in how to create what would go on to be known as lo-fi. I have no idea who the (sampled) male voice on this is but Kirbys faux French voice is so erotic its unreal. If she can't stir you, you are probably dead. Its not the greatest version of the track, that'd be the suitably named "Frenchapella" containing just the organ chords, drums & Kirbys vocal line. Best line in the track "Is there really such a thing? Right".
7. "World Clique" 3:20
Its the title track! The world clique, a group everyone can belong to. Kirby was clearly one of those girls who wasn't popular at school and this is her way of saying despite the fact she couldn't belong then she's forgiving those people and inviting them to join the global party that Deee-lite were heading in the 90's. To be honest its going to be a song LOTS of people across the planet can relate to. When Lady Kier Kirby says join my clique you are going to say "Yes please", especially with her looks & sultry voice.
8. "E.S.P." 3:43
Clearly written as far as music goes by Towa Tei and influenced in no uncertain terms by Kraftwerk and no-one else. In fact if you aren't humming "Tour De France" you are either deaf or unaware of the track. For those curious? The "Good, Bad & The Ugly" sample was Dimitri Brills idea.
9. "Groove Is in the Heart" 3:51
This is the only single from the album and was released in August of 1990, its best recorded chart position was #1 in the Australian & U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts, it reached Gold status having sold in excess of 500,000 units. If you know a track of this album it is almost certainly going to be this one. Thats Bootsy Collins saying "Dig!" at the start of this Bossa Nova based track, Collins performs additional vocals and bass and Q-Tip (from A Tribe Called Quest) provides the rap in the middle 8). I had to stop reviewing to dance along. I can't help myself, sorry. Its too funky not to.
10. "Who Was That?" 4:35
This is an odd little track with the racetrack horn intro and Casio keyboard drum track from Towa Tei, Bootsy Collins provides additional vocals. I do love the way Kirby does the refrains from each call and response. This is just too weird not to like. Thats Collins doing the silly "Who is it" voices in the middle 8 in case you wondered, he does a great "weird woman" impression. Its very much "The Funk Adventures Of Goldilocks" without any bears.
11. "Deep Ending" 3:47
The intro to this is quite bizarre but once its into the very off kilter but killer open chords its very cool. I am trying to decide if the "flute" is a sample from Terrance Trent D'arby's "Wishing Well" as it sounds exactly like it. Kirbys word play is quite clever using both Deep Ending and depending to create a para-rhyme. More Chicago house influences with the piano track of this.
12. "Build the Bridge" 4:32
My favourite track on the album and oddly enough its an instrumental, drums & synths by Towa with samples from Dimitri, this went everywhere on my Sony Walkman as it was great to run to. The choppy sirenic chords are excellent and harken back to the days of Acid House, its very much like "House Arrest (By Krush) or "Doctoring The House" by Coldcut both of which predated this album by 2 yrs so its highly possible they influenced Towa.
As Deee-lites first foray into an album this isn't bad but its not great either. The dance music lover will enjoy the record for what it is but apart from Groove Is In The Heart there were never going to be any other real big hits coming from this album. If you like a fairly eclectic range of music then you can't go far wrong than investing in this as its bound to be dirt cheap these days. Give it a spin, well worth a cheeky punt!
(this review also appears on Caio! I am the original author)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Deee-Lite Theme
2 Good Beat
3 Power Of Love
4 Try Me On... I'm Very You
5 Smile On
6 What Is Love?
7 World Clique
9 Groove Is In The Heart
10 Who Was That?
11 Deep Ending
12 Build The Bridge