- 26 Mar 21
Potent portrayal of grief from fast-rising Dublin artist.
Ghosts loom over the self-titled debut from the artist known as For Those I Love, aka David Balfe. Initially born out of a desire to capture the embattled spirit of the Dublin in which David grew up, the project took on an even darker hue, with the loss of the singer’s close friend and bandmate, Paul Curran, who tragically took his own life in 2018.
Curran’s sad death has been marked by other artists, including Kojaque, whose ‘White Noise’ video is dedicated to him. Here, Balfe offers his own deeply personal recollections of the musician and poet, baring his soul right from the start, on the emotional opener ‘I Have A Love’. Throughout the record, Balfe fuses James Blake-style electronic production, snippets of conversation and hip-hop samples.
Lyrically, he paints haunting pictures of his youth in working class Dublin. On ‘To Have You’, he raps about the personal impact of grieving: “Tell me what you know about hope/ Tell me what you know about free/ There’s been blood on our knees since we were teens/ Don’t tell me you know what it means to grieve/ There’s no world that me and mine haven’t seen.”
Elsewhere, For Those I Love channels his pain and anger to powerful effect, making for socio-political commentary that’s expressed with uncompromising bite. He reflects on the fragile state of mens’ mental health in Ireland more than once, but nowhere is it more plainly-spoken of than on ‘The Shape Of You’, which opens with a sample of a man saying “Please, please be careful with yourself… get yourself home safe. I love you.” Balfe then launches into what resonates as a deeply honest, diaristic recollection of feeling depressed and de-motivated in the face of the overwhelming reality of grief.
The impact of Balfe’s lyrics is like a hard-wire, running throughout what is a consistently stirring and affecting work. On the basis of this dark and beautiful release, 2021 could prove to be a monumental year for For Those I Love.
Out now, listen below.