The Four of Us
The 4 Of Us have been a part of Irish music history for over a quarter of a century.
Formed and fronted by Newry-born brothers Brendan and Declan Murphy, they have developed a strong musical identity which has produced original and award-winning recordings, as well as a large and loyal fan base.
The 4 Of Us shot to early fame towards the end of 1989 with their debut Songs for the Tempted, which featured the massive hits Mary and Drag My Bad Name Down.
The follow up, Man Alive, made Q magazine’s Top 50 Albums of 1992 and included the UK Top 30 song She Hits Me.
To date, the Murphy brothers have notched up an enviable catalogue of timeless songs, including six Top 20 Irish charting albums. Their music has also been featured extensively on American, UK, and Irish TV soundtracks.
Sugar Island, got its Irish release late last year and is now to be issued in the UK too.
Lyrically, the album explores the brothers’ early years growing up in Northern Ireland; musically, it focuses on the trademark interplay of their acoustic guitars and features 12 new songs.
It is arguably their most biographical album, including tracks reflecting on the brothers’ childhood, in and around a border town during the height of the troubles.
Brendan recalls: “It was a dark time for sure, but as kids we still managed to have a lot of fun. Everyone who lived through those times has their own stories to tell; we thought we’d share some of ours.”
The title track refers to the landmark heart of their hometown, which was also a popular meeting place for young lovers.
The opening song, Bird’s Eye View, recalls the mixture of fear and excitement as a young Brendan watched the conflict unfold from his bedroom window at night, kept awake by the racket of helicopters and gunfire – just a stone’s throw from their home to the edges of the danger zone.
“With this one, we’ve really come full circle,” says Declan. “When we first started, The 4 Of Us was just two guys and two guitars. This album is a return to that ethos.”
The brothers have worked with a few gifted musicians to fulfil their vision for their seventh studio album. Says Brendan: “Enda Walsh is a guy we have worked with from our very first album. He has a great recording studio and is one of the most musical people we know. His contribution really helped bring the record to life. Songwriter Sharon Vaughn flew over from Nashville to co-write with us, and drummer Peter McKinney, from our original band line-up, added percussion, along with the talented bodhrán player Yvonne Fahy.
The result is an uplifting album that touches on themes of childhood, family, and the passing of time against the backdrop of one of Northern Ireland’s darkest periods.