For Those I Love – For Those I Love review

Most people can probably name at least one great song about love, because most people can usually remember, no matter how fleeting or consigned to history, the thrill of first attraction. The problem with romantic love is that more often than not it dissolves or fades, breaking either in two or towards something more platonic.

David Balfe knows real love can scar far worse than any fight or accident, because his platonic love was his friend, fellow Dublin artist Paul Curran, with whom he grew up in the working class suburb of Coolock. When Curran took his own life in 2018 the pall of grief spread out far beyond the reaches of the city, in turn drowning Balfe with a tsunami of memories, unanswered questions and unfulfilled plans. What came from this pile on of emotions was this, a record about his story and Curran’s, one expressed on the opening track in the present tense, because something so profound should only end when everyone wants it to.

Balfe also speaks frankly about his other experiences, from youthful indiscretions (The Shape of You) to lost months of self-medicating (The Myth/I Don’t Mind). The music to accompany these soliloquies is built from refracted melodies of a rave through early morning come downs, anxious, less sure, but still with little surges of joy. Curran’s presence is reinforced through fragments of old WhatsApp messages, and choirs sing along with football crowds in equal worship of the strands of humanity which separate hope from despair.

For Those I Love is about the wafer thin gap between dreams, nightmares and reality, about how we self destructively try to break it down, and about how humans can be put back together again using tools we all have inside us but not everyone chooses to gift to one another.

You can read a full review here.

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