The new blue-eyed soul band with a sophisticated sound and two hit singles already under their belts released their debut album, Popped in Souled Out, in the autumn of 1987. All tracks were composed jointly by the bandmembers Graeme Clark, Tommy Cunningham, Neil Mitchell, and Marti Pellow except the James Taylor song "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight." Most of the songs were midtempo including the debut single and album opener, "Wishing I Was Lucky" as well as the two follow-up singles, "Sweet Little Mystery" and "Angel Eyes." The fourth single, "Temptation," was a ballad in the style of Spandau Ballet's "Through the Barricades" and was the least successful of the tracks released as singles. Many of the songs, despite being filled with horns and strings reminiscent of Phil Collins' No Jacket Required era, lacked a distinctive melody, including most of the tracks not released as singles. Thus the album appeared crammed with rather too much filler, although Marti Pellow carried even a tuneless song with his lush soulful voice. Popped in Souled Out hit number two in the charts on its first week, eventually climbing to the very top at the beginning of 1988 and spending the whole of the first half of that year inside the Top Ten. During this run, they released a non-album track, "With a Little Help from My Friends," for the Childline charity, which became the band's first number one single. The album concluded with a live version of their first hit, "Wishing I Was Lucky," which was almost identical to the studio version.
AllMusic Review by Sharon Mawer