LIghthouse Family have announced their return with their first new music in 18 years.
The band premiered their new single My Salvation on the Ken Bruce's BBC Radio 2 show today. The single comes ahead of their fourth studio album Blue Sky In Your Head which will be released on May 3 via Polydor Records.
The band have also announced a UK tour for November which includes a hometown show at Newcastle City Hall on November 14 and a show at London Palladium on November 22.
Watch the video for My Salvation here
Messages of hope and uplift. Sentiments of community and communion. Songs of love and connection. Tunes to sing, loudly, from the heart. It can only be Lighthouse Family, back to dream up the magic all over again.
“I like hymns, always have. I was in the choir as a kid,” said Tunde. “I think all the songs on the record have that feel. They’re urban hymns.”
Indeed, the new album has something that has always been present with Lighthouse Family: a sense of optimism and renewal. “We’re trying to create something anthemic and uplifting but real,” says Paul. “That idea of: ‘I know the sun’s gonna shine again’, it’s quintessential Lighthouse Family.”
“And that’s kind of you what you want Lighthouse Family songs to do: put a Blue Sky In Your Head,” said Paul.
Blue Sky In Your Head opens with the rippling, rolling, title track. Its theme is, says Tunde, similar to Ocean Drive. A dream of a place, a dream of escape, something you want to get away to.”
Those years have not dulled Lighthouse Family’s remarkable ability to craft elegantly beautiful songs. Their first single in almost two decades, My Salvation is an upbeat track that flies high on lush strings and has echoes of Pet Shop Boys at their imperial best.
Inspired in part by the birth of Paul’s son, its sentiments chime perfectly with the band’s return. “I wrote it at the end of 2016, when there were lots of things changing in politics and it felt like there was nothing solid to hold on to. There’s the line: ‘When you say a prayer, does anybody hear, send an SOS…’ You’re looking for that touchstone that salvation can bring.”
“What happens when Tunde and I get in the studio is, we just drift off – we don’t ever row!” said Paul. “There’s no shouting or throwing things. In fact we only ever had one argument - but it lasted 20 years."
The old itch was still there, though, and by the time the band reunited again in 2016 they were determined to make a record, something that was classic Lighthouse Family, but also sounded like it could be made today. Bunkered in a north London studio, the old friends and collaborators quickly found their groove.
“Somehow we couldn’t knock it together in the studio,” says Paul. “So we decided to go and do some shows, to remind ourselves who we are and what we do. As one of the Duran Duran guys said to me: ‘What do you want to go in the studio for? That’s where all the arguments happen! Go and do some gigs…’ So, that’s what we did, and it was great.”
In the intervening years Paul formed a band, The Orange Lights, while Tunde released two solo albums, but the old connection between the pair remained, and in 2010 they got back together with a view to making a fourth album.
The 1997 follow-up Postcards From Heaven, featured three Top Ten singles – Raincloud, High and Lost in Space – and also went six-times platinum, charting across Europe, the Far East, Australia and New Zealand.
Their third album Whatever Gets You Through The Day (2001) produced another Top Ten single in the shape of (I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be) Free/One, but by this time the band were at breaking point, their friendship burnt out after years on the road living in each others’ pockets.
And both of them were heartbroken by grief. Paul’s father had died, and he sought solace in the rock’n’roll lifestyle.
While Tunde had lost his mother, a situation complicated by the fact that his stepfather, Olusegun Obasanjo, was at the time the President of Nigeria. Little wonder the duo badly needed a break.
Tunde Baiyewu and Paul Tucker formed Lighthouse Family after meeting at Newcastle University in the early 1990s. Their 1995 debut album Ocean Drive was a slow-burning success, going six times platinum while staying in the album charts for almost three years.
Lifted became one the defining songs of the era, a pop-soul classic that was inescapable on radio, becoming the soundtrack of high street Britain, drivetime Britain and night-out Britain.
Blue Sky In Your Head is Lighthouse Family’s fourth album, and sees them back on their original label Polydor and reunited with Colin Barlow, the A&R that discovered them, and their first manager, Keith Armstrong; the same team that was around them when they were at their FM Radio-dominating peak. The duo will follow the album’s release with a UK tour later this year, culminating at the iconic London Palladium on November 22.
Tickets on sale Friday March 29
UK TOUR DATES, NOVEMBER
Monday 11 Birmingham Symphony Hall
Tickets: 0121 780 3333 or www.thsh.co.uk/how-to-book
Wed 13 Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Tickets: 0141 353 8000 or www.glasgowconcerthalls.com
Thurs 14 Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle City Hall
Tickets: 0844 811 2121 or www.ents24.com/newcastle-upon-tyne-events
Fri 15 Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
Tickets: 0115 989 5555 or https://trch.co.uk/whats-on
Sun 17 Halifax The Victoria Theatre
Tickets: 01422 351158 or https://www.victoriatheatre.co.uk
Mon 18 Manchester Bridgewater Hall
Tickets: 0161 907 9000 or www.bridgewater-hall.co.uk
Wed 20 Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion
Tickets: 01424 229111 or https://www.dlwp.com/
Thu 21 Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre
Tickets: 0844 576 3000 or www.bhlivetickets.co.uk
Fri 22 London Palladium
Tickets: 020 7492 5366 or https://lwtheatres.co.uk/theatres/the-london-palladium