Acoustic Pop Singer Songwriter Robb Murphy has released his second studio album Sleep Tonight which contains twelve songs of his own crafting. The Belfast native has already received national and international attention since the release of first album Take A Stand and has drawn on many influences in his own life to create Sleep Tonight.
The album reflects these efforts as it is a very personal, authentic and autobiographic record. Upon listening, one cannot help but feel very connected with Murphy, who has evidently put much heart into his lyrical efforts. The album features a number of other musicians, including the Ulster String Quartet, vocalists Lottie Field and Amanda Agnew and Slide guitarist Percy Robinson. The result of this collaboration is a rich and diverse album with something for every listener.
Album opener ‘Darker Side’ is an acoustic number which mourns the darker side of humanity through its lyrics. It showcases Murphy’s distinctive vocals, has acoustic guitar and is interspersed with gentle piano playing. Second tune ‘To Be a Fool’ begins with a subtle orchestral introduction courtesy of the Ulster String Quartet, which leads into a slow building tune that lifts in tempo as the tune progresses. With orchestral nods, a soprano accompaniment from Lottie Field and triumphant trumpeting during the outro, the tune has a complex multi-layered sound. The third tune on the album is its lead single ‘Mysteries of the Heart’ which has a country pop feel to it. It has an upbeat tempo, melodic harmonising between Murphy and Field, country riffs and a very catchy chorus.
A harmonica led Bob Dylanesque intro kicks off confessional fourth tune ‘When Love is Tangled in between Friends’ which is followed by ‘Headstrong’ a country folk crossover tune with nice electric riffs and a chirpy tempo. Changing pace, ‘Stars’, the sixth song on the album has an evocative twinkly loop for an intro, and a slower pace throughout. With classical/pop elements, it showcases ethereal harmonies, Murphy’s impressive guitar skills and well placed instrumental courtesy of the Ulster String Quartet.
‘The Best Decision’ has a melancholic intro but quickly livens with slide guitar from Percy Robinson, rhythmic bass and drums, while classic country ‘A Good Place For Us’ tells the story of a sanctuary for lovers while featuring sweet melodic vocals courtesy of singer Amanda Agnew. A gentle guitar intro leads into ninth tune ‘Bound for your Arms’ which is a slow paced, confessional tune with a dreamlike feel. It is followed by ‘Coffee & Tea’, my personal favourite on the album. It has a strong trumpeted intro and a jazzy, easy listening tone and explores the idea that opposites attract through metaphor of people being either a “Coffee” or a “Tea” person.
Penultimate tune ‘Sunny Mountain’ is a calm, slow orchestral number while final tune and album namesake “Sleep Tonight” has a strong instrumental intro which leads into a chilled out, ambient song with tasteful orchestral input and strong vocals. Sleep Tonight rises in a crescendo of trumpet and string instruments towards the outro and ends beautifully with gentle piano playing and violin drones. It is an elegant end to a comprehensive, multifaceted album which showcases Murphy’s musical talents and storytelling songwriting.
◀ STANDOUT ⁞ Coffee & Tea ▶