Clea’s second album was not only a drastic change in sound and style from their first album Identity Crisis but also saw the loss of Chloe who decided to move to Canada to launch her solo career. The remaining members Lynsey, Emma and Aimee regrouped after a small break and with their label Simon and Denise they released the highly poptastic album Trinity. Content-wise Trinity was a total contrast to their first dark, deep and often softly melancholic debut. This version of Clea perhaps was more comparative to Spice Girls and Atomic Kitten at their most fun and hyperbolic. Containing nine new songs and five previously available on their Identity Crisis album only re-recorded by the three, Trinity additionally contained the bombastic cover of We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off. This review will focus on the Trinity songs rather than the new versions of the Identity Crisis songs suffice to say they are re-recorded and sound pretty amazing especially the ad-libs towards the end in the new Butterflies & Rainbows.
Co-written by the girls, Eanie Meanie sees the girls recall very early Atomic Kitten when they first exploded on the scene. They also try and do some frilly fluffy rapping that is as cute as a button.
Lucky Like That (video)
Lucky Like That was Clea’s fourth single and last in the UK. Premiering on the sorely missed Capital Disney radio station it was released in time to push Trinity. Written by bunch of fabulous Swedish songwriters and produced by Eurodance maestro Eric Le Tennen who was responsible for that other fabulous girlgroup NG3 of As Nasty As We Wannabe and Swedish winners of the second winners of Popstars Supernatural. Lucky Like That came with some amazing remixes from the likes of Uniting Nations, Mark Jason, D’Mau and Kumuchi all of which are all available on Itunes now.
We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off (video)
A fun vigorous cover of Jermaine Stewarts 1980s ode to safe sex and cherry wine, it went to no.35 on the UK charts back in September 2005 despite being pretty much ignored by the media. To put their chart position in some perspective, two years later Lil Chris released his version of the Stewart classic via the major label RCA and went to no.63. Listed as Da Playaz vs. Clea, their cover was a brilliant tribute to Jermaines brilliant original and was a great way of signalling a change of look and sound for the band.
Reasons sounds like the type of love ballad you’d hear on the radio during the Christmas time. In fact, it sounds somewhat similar to Goodbye by the Spice Girls and contains those honey-like harmonies previously heard on Identity Crisis.
Playing The Wrong Game
You could almost imagine Playing The Wrong Game appear on the soundtrack to Miami Vice or Dallas. Tinged with synth kicks and snares, it blows a thousand kisses to Janet Jaskson and Paula Abdul.
Keep It Cool
I love Keep It Cool. For me it sounds like Sugababes Push The Button mashed-up and re-remixed with Blondie’s Rapture making Keep It Cool emerge as a cocktail of bubblegum ace superpop. Could’ve been a brilliant double a-side with I Surrender.
By the time you reach Freestyle its suddenly clear that Clea were perhaps one of the first British bands to be inspired by K-pop. With echoes of Janet Jackson, Freestyle could be easily be a huge hit by Girls’ Generation, 2ne1 and f(x). Its no surprise to find out that Trinity found a following in Asia where it received a special release with a bonus Cd with delicious remixes and well worth tracking down for the completely different and delicious album art-work alone (also check out the girls singing in Shanghai in Mandarin here!).
Sadly not the cover of the Olivia Newton-John - though that would be amazing - with its tight production and slick hooks Physical could’ve easily been on the third Spice Girls album.
I Surrender is essentially amazing. I remember when I first heard it I said it sounds like Kylie’s On A Night A like This had done the naughty with her club track Butterfly and had produced a beautiful dancetastic lovechild that proudly struts its stuff next the very best of Atomic Kitten, Spinning Around and Britney’s Breathe On Me. Looking back a few years on, I Surrender was evidently before its time emerging as a preview to the wild EDM craze that has currently taken hold in the US and UK charts. With I Surrender you almost want to rip off the shirt, dye your hair pink had head off to Ibiza or Barcelona. With its thumping baseline, anthemic chorus and trippy lyrics you can almost smell the poppers. Although it was eventually released as a single in Sweden and some parts of Europe, in hindsight, maybe I Surrender should’ve been the lead single over and above the cover such is its ‘bigness’. Written by the legend Darren Tate, dancefloor diva Kate Ryan covered I Surrender on her studio album Free and picked it as a single where it entered no.12 in the Dutch charts. Two years later, Upside released all the mixes commissioned for the Clea release in Sweden when I Surrender got the EP Itunes treatment.
Unreleased & Tidbits
Unlike their previous album, Trinity included quite a few cuts that ended up being shelved, withdrawn or demoted as b-sides for their singles. Lets first look at the unreleased stuff.
Kick Back Relax
This really should’ve been on the album. Their version even got some UK airplay only to see the winner of Swedish Idol Agnes and her label eventually release the song which meant Clea could not longer put the track on Trinity despite the fact that they sound a lot better on the song than Agnes does (I am a huge Agnes fan). Written by Swedish maestro Jorgen Elofsson, Kick Back Relax was made for a girlband. It isincredibly catchy which perhaps explains Sony’s interest in the track that ultimately paid off given her eventual big chart position (no.2). A massive achievement for Agnes who’d previously seen her single Stranded flop. Still, Clea’s Kick Back Relax is perfect for the summer sun and fits incredibly well on the album.
A perfect song that would’ve sound ace on Trinity and arguably Don’t Go sounds a little bit like a much stronger version of Physical.
Sounding like a track from Come And Get It by Rachel Stevens, Addicted by Clea would easily make a great bonus track if Trinity had been released in Japan or Australia. Basically territories that love their special editions with bonus content. In many ways, it fits the album more so than the re-recorded Identity Crisis tracks.
The other cover recording in the Trinity sessions. Staying pretty faithful to the original, Clea’s version even includes a tiny bit of George right at the start of the cover. Excellent production too. If Clea were ever to re-issue Trinity this cover would be a must.
One of my all time favourite Clea songs that is immensely fun and screams leg-warmers and big hair from the outset. It's a sublime slice of synth-sample sugar that recalls all the reasons why we loved Vanity 6, The Flirts and Strawberry Switchblade. Not included on the album as the The Rick Steady Crew sample required clearance which demanded a whole lot of paperwork and lawyers. A shame as Hey You totally illustrated the sound and vibe of Trinity.
Who Do You Think You Are
A very interesting and obtuse unreleased Clea song. The record company decided to capitalize on the bands success in China by arranging new shows but with a twist – they would perform a few songs that were in the charts by Chinese pop acts and this was one of them only this included English lyrics. Its pretty cute.
Lynsey sounds absolutely fierce on Romeo – a b-side to their second single Lucky Like That. Romeo stays true to the 1980s sound of its parent album.
Clea Bad Girls
Like Romeo, Bad Girls was recorded in Sweden yet this sounds very much like schlager type number you may hear during Sweden’s Melodifestivalen only with a country and western lilt in the production.