For Those I Love is a new Dublin-based solo project by songwriter/producer David Balfe. Balfe conceived For Those I Love as a solo project while a member of local punk band Burnt Out with the purpose of capturing the beauty of the relationships that exist between groups of young men that often go unspoken. Tragically, his best friend, bandmate and poet Paul Curran, died in 2018. Curran’s untimely death was also the main inspiration behind The Murder Capital’s riveting 2019 debut When I Have Fears. But in his grief, Balfe decided to pick up his original concept once more and has now created an album infused with the love and bond that existed between the pair.
His powerful appearance on Later… With Jools Holland in the UK late last year is worthy of a full-length review in itself. Every word Balfe proclaims, every look into the camera, and every finger pointed to his chest is done so with nothing but raw honesty — the way any artist who has lived through their experiences would do. And it is these experiences that inspire the fractured sermons that come to form For Those I Love.
The album begins the way it naturally should. “I Have a Love” exposes the gut-wrenching sadness as well as the beauty of what Balfe has set out to do with his project as he reminisces in his broad Dublin twang over his fond memories of Curran with phone clips of his late friend’s voice and joyous laughter delivered over arrangements that blur the lines between ambient techno and dubstep.
Balfe’s poetic spoken-word vocal style is direct and passionate throughout — his heart worn fully on his sleeve. DIY sensibilities protrude throughout all of the beats that form the album’s sonic foundations; “The Shape of You” offers atmospheric soundscapes while “Top Scheme” channels old-school EDM beats as Balfe spits out his disillusions on working-class life and the politics of housing estates.
The album is musically fresh, but it’s Balfe’s ability to take such great meaning from the moments in life that are too often forgotten about that makes For Those I Love feel so real and touching.
There are no words in this review that can match the sheer visceral depth of what Balfe encompasses with this album. Yeats, Joyce, Wilde, and Heaney were all revered Irish writers and poets in their time, and no matter what status these greats may have, and no matter what technical literary prowess they may possess, Balfe has a love that has inspired him to create something with enough humanity and emotion to stand up proudly and defiantly among such standards of work.
An outstanding album and the ultimate ode to friendship.