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Pop - Released July 5, 2019 | Polydor Records

Having initially disbanded in 2003 and reformed seven years later, the Newcastle pop-soul duo best known for their 1995 smash-hit single "Lifted" now present their fourth album, their first in 18 years. Featuring the upbeat single "My Salvation" -- which combines lush strings, smooth pads, and a funky, danceable rhythm -- the album has all the classic Lighthouse Family elements but with a slick contemporary update. ~ John D. Buchanan
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Pop - Released August 16, 2019 | Polydor Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2002 | Polydor Records

Like M People and Simply Red, Newcastle duo Lighthouse Family defied the vicious music press to become one of the most successful acts of the '90s. MOR they may be, but armed with Tunde Baiyewu's rich vocals and a sun-drenched soul-pop sound designed to dominate the airwaves, it's easy to see why both Ocean Drive and Postcards from Heaven sold in the millions. The Very Best Of brings together their 12 singles plus their cover of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," album track "End of the Sky," plus two unreleased tracks, and surprisingly, reveals they were a little more adventurous than they were given credit for. Ocean Drive's singles, still staples of radio play lists ten years later, are fine examples of effortlessly chilled soul. The inspirational lyrics and breezy acoustic charms of the title track and "Lifted" instantly transport you to sunnier climates, while the gorgeous jazz-tinged "Goodbye Heartbreak" and "Lovin' Every Minute" sound like a warm bubble bath in audio form. Follow-up Postcards from Heaven wasn't exactly a huge change in direction but did provide arguably their two strongest singles, the Burt Bacharach-inspired "Raincloud" and the uplifting gospel pop of "High." But the dreary "Lost in Space" and the title track are so laid-back they're virtually horizontal, and "Question of Faith" sounded like a group on autopilot. Seemingly buoyed after a four-year break, their third and indeed final album, Whatever Gets You Through the Day, was actually their most inventive. "I Wish I Knew How It Feels to Be Free" is a clever fusion of Nina Simone's track of the same name and U2's "One"; their most club-friendly single, "Happy," mixed '70s disco with the Gallic house of Modjo and Stardust; while the brass-led "Run" wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Groove Armada album. There's nothing on The Very Best Of likely to convert their detractors but its polished production, pop harmonies, and classic songwriting justifiy their position as one of Britain's most popular soul acts. ~ Jon O'Brien
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Polydor Records

Ocean Drive, the debut album from the London-based duo Lighthouse Family, is a modest, but extremely pleasant affair that makes for excellent rainy-day listening. While some may find Paul Tucker and Tunde Baiyewu's song stylings a little too soft rock for their taste, the smooth guitar chords and quiet percussion quickly become addictive. Not to mention the album's best tunes, "Lifted" and "Ocean Drive," are virtually guaranteed to buoy one's spirits. "Ocean Drive" is particularly transporting; if you close your eyes and let your mind wander while listening to this track, you can almost feel yourself driving along the coast, the wind in your hair and your responsibilities left behind. The other songs aren't quite on the same level, but they are still fun to listen to. "Loving Every Minute" features some great trumpet backup from "Tim Kellett," and the drums on "Keep Remembering" and "Sweetest Operator" certainly get your feet tapping. The album ends on a high note with "Goodbye Heartbreak," a song about love and loss that makes a nice bookend to the upbeat first track, "Lifted." With the exception of these two songs and "Ocean Drive," the weakest aspect of the record is the lyrics, which range from the forgettable to the inscrutable. Fortunately, lead singer Baiyewu possesses such a strong voice, you can treat it as another instrument and tune out what he is actually saying. The group's real strength is the music anyway. A great album to put on while you're reading or just sitting quietly by yourself. ~ Ethan Alter
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Pop - Released October 1, 1998 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Although Postcards from Heaven, the second album from the Lighthouse Family, lacks any single as effortlessly graceful as its predcessors' "Lifted" or "Ocean Drive," it's a stronger record, demonstrating that the group has a talented for well-crafted, complex pop. It's a subtle, seductive record, where the details are nearly as important as the charming melodies. This time around, the songs reveal their pleasures with repeated listens, even though the music remains appealling and accessible. The difference is that the album doens't have the immediate pleasures of "Lifted" -- it has pleasures that take a little more time to assimilate but in the end, they are ultimately more rewarding. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine