We were lucky to be at NYU in 1994 at the tail end of the rave scene. JNCOs + UFOs bottom-drawered. The good E dried up (but firmly stamped in our synapses). Candy kids were morphing into junglists. Breaks DJs were jumping ship to ride the city's palatial hip-hop tract. Within this time of change, Deee-Lite dropped their third album, Dewdrops In The Garden. After the hapless release of Infinity Within, Dewdrops was an obvious label afterthought. Promo hustlers, dripped in stiff North Face, dropped boxes of gold-stamped pre-release CDs at the lobby of my dorm. Not expecting much but always in look of freebies, broke NYU kids (the demographic quite different back then) grabbed copies along with the weekly pick-up of the New York Press (desperately waiting for the next Amy Sohn column).
"Yeah this shit is pretty good." The album broke into the dorm's rotation amongst Blowout Comb, Debut, Dummy, Ill Communication, The Sun Rises In The East, and Biggie singles. That Dewdrops could even hang at this time of musical outbreak was indicative of the album's now-forgotten quality.
To make sure we weren't recalling through a halcyon lens, we gave the post-World Clique albums proper re-listens. Our verdict... Infinity Within is rightfully buried (sounds wafer-thin), but Dewdrops sounded rich while presenting an accurate snapshot of this transitional period. The strong Deep House influence gave the album the backstop soul that Infinity lacked (Deep House eventually brought so many candy ravers out of the gully). We're guessing Towa Tei's absence let DJ On-E inject more ATCQ-inspired sampling the mix (for example the opener "Say Ahhh..." features a very Tribe-like EWF sample plus Kool & The Gang drums).
But really, it's all about Lady Miss Kier's performance. We've read that there was a refocusing after Infinity, and you can hear the added high-power energy throughout (the Masters At Work-assisted "Bittersweet Loving" serves as the reintroduction). So many standout single-like performances (there were 3 official singles, but you could have easily picked 6). "Picnic In the Summertime" and "Apple Juice Loving" could have opened up a new career path (can you imagine an entire album of tracks like this?). Something to listen for: check out the outros on many of the songs. Lots of interesting moments and indicative of the 12" culture back then.
- black double vinyl pressing
- includes printed insert
- music label: Get On Down / Elektra 1994 / 2019
reviewed by the mgmnt 12/18