For Those I Love For Those I Love September Recordings
In 2018, David Balfe’s closest friend and former bandmate Paul Curran passed away. Soon after, Balfe retreated to his studio (his ma’s shed in Donaghmede, north Dublin), and recorded almost 80 tracks under a new solo alias, For Those I Love. Nine of those tracks have made it onto his astounding self-titled debut.
Adrift in relentless grief, writing became vital catharsis for Balfe; For Those I Love is a tribute to Paul, to love, and to restorative friendships, musings on death and the turmoil it leaves in its wake, and reflections on a childhood growing up in a part of Ireland decimated by the recession.
With a spoken word manner reminiscent of Mike Skinner, and a heavy Irish Brogue, Balfe’s delivery is powerful and razor-sharp. On Top Scheme he seethes with rage, condemning the state over a weighty halftime beat, “the world is fucked”, he spits. Conversely, a refrain from opener I Have A Love appears in different iterations throughout the record — “I have a love/ And it never fades.” Many more proclamations of love follow, in Balfe’s lyrics and in the voice notes and WhatsApp messages that weave through the album, a moving archive of his relationship with Paul.
Musically, much of For Those I Love is an ode to “every night we’d dance ‘til five”, the production recalling primetime in the rave when you and your friends hit pure euphoria. Tender moments are supported by a simple piano riff, snippets of birdsong or a string section, and Balfe’s more scathing observations ride a moody low-end with darker dubstep rhythms.
On You Live / No One Like You, David Balfe lists the sounds, sights and experiences his best friend lives on in: haircuts, Joy Division, abandoned mattresses, warehouse raves, in his love that will never fade. Grief is a fickle monster, and on For Those I Love, Balfe captures the beast with a visceral clarity.