For Those I Love – For Those I Love (2021)

Artist – For Those I Love

Producer – David Balfe

Release Date – March 26th 2021

Label – September Recordings Limited

This is the debut album from Dublin’s David Balfe under the For Those I Love moniker – and what a debut it is!!

Written in the wake of the death of his best friend and collaborator Paul Curran, who sadly committed suicide in 2018, a sense of sadness and loss understandably hangs over this record. However, it certainly isn’t a depressing listen. Instead it is an ode to friendship, to living for the now, to making the most of everything you have and most importantly love. Not the falling in love kind; the love, the bond, between people, the ones closest to you, who have your back every step of the way through this long and winding road we call life.

Set against a backdrop of electronic beats, blissful synths, uplifting keyboard melodies and well woven samples, David Balfe recites his spoken word poetry and draws you in so that you stop and listen to every line. I haven’t heard an album like this since Original Pirate Material (2002) by The Streets (whose ‘Turn The Page’ is referenced on the songs ‘Top Scheme’ and ‘You Live’). Just like that record, this has one foot in club/rave culture but with the kind of lyrics that feel so real, so lived in, describing things you can relate to or transport you back to a moment in time that feels just like what you are hearing.

Not exactly something you can dance to per se, the best way I can describe the music on this album is that it often sounds like leaving the dancefloor of a club, stepping outside to feel the cold on your face. You feel the alcohol in your bloodstream starting to make your mind a little hazy and as the door closes you can still hear the beats but muffled, distant, just the vibration of the bass. The depth of the lyrics then hit you like that wall of sound in your ears when you reopen the door to step back inside.

This is an album that as soon as it’s finished you want to listen to it all over again. There’s a lot to take in and every spin offers up something new; a snippet of a sample you recognise that you didn’t spot before, a lyrical couplet that makes you laugh or alternately one that can make you cry.

A mesmerising, assured, brave album, to hear someone talk about some of the things that are on this record is incredible. Grieving, processing, catharsis, hope, not words you would typically associate with what is for all intents and purposes a dance record but shows just how important music is, not just for those who listen but also for those that create.

Wholeheartedly recommended, slip on a pair of headphones and immerse yourself in the words and soundscapes created by this young man and take a listen to what will undoubtedly end up being one of the best albums released this year.

Track Listing

1. I Have A Love – 8.5/10

2. You Stayed / To Live – 9/10

3. To Have You – 7/10

4. Top Scheme – 7.5/10

5. The Myth / I Don’t – 9/10

6. The Shape Of You – 8/10

7. Birthday / The Pain – 9/10

8. You Live / No One Like You – 8/10

9. Leave Me Not Love – 8/10

Overall – 9/10

Spotify link –

https://open.spotify.com/album/3gpVbxElqwLZfc1ZWfiN27?si=9Nc8swSpRLGbK9YvMfaT8g

Apple Music link –

https://music.apple.com/gb/album/for-those-i-love/1528042043

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