Home Music Music Album Reviews

For Those I Love’s Debut Album Is a Powerful Exercise in Grief and Catharsis

Hauntingly beautiful and mesmerisingly honest, For Those I Love has delivered a debut album that is unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

Image of For Those I Love

Faolán Carey*

When Dubliner David Balfe’s For Those I Love project first made its wider presence felt back in 2020 with the arrival of “I Have a Love”, it would be fair to say that many couldn’t quite expect what such a musical offering would unfold into across the coming year. Raw and unafraid, part of its charm was the almost frighteningly-unexpected way in which listeners were delivered this mesmerising piece of music; unaware of what Balfe’s next move would be as he opens his heart with pure vulnerability.

As more singles arrived, it became clear that this wasn’t just a fluke, with each and every track revealing more and more of Balfe’s life, mixing in rave-like instruments, melodic hooks, and deeply personal, almost bleak lyrical content at every turn.

“I was six when I first encountered the fallout of a violent death,” said of his “Birthday / The Pain” single. “It’s such a haunting burden at that age, and still is. [That single] recalls that moment, the desperation of trying to make sense of it as a child, and what it’d mean for me growing up against that backdrop.”

These singles gave rise to the release of the debut self-titled release from For Those I Love, a majestic, harrowing collection of tracks that are as paradoxically uplifting as they are stark, ultimately serving as a tribute to Balfe’s late best friend and former Burnt Out bandmate, Paul Curran.

Following Curram’s tragic death in 2018, Balfe retreated to his home studio to work through this pain. Ultimately, he created over 76 songs that would eventually be condensed down into a much more manageable nine as a means of addressing grief and catharsis in an almost uncomfortably honest way.

Briefly sharing the project in 2019, the debut album from For Those I Love has now received a widespread release into the world, providing an uncompromising look into the effects of grief and loss, while offering a genre-defying tribute to the life and legacy of Curran. Hauntingly beautiful and mesmerisingly honest, For Those I Love is the sort of record that only comes around one in a lifetime, and not only commands but deserves your attention.

For Those I Love’s self-titled debut is out now via September Recordings.