Warhaus, aka Belthazar's Maarten Devoldere has conjured up a darkly enjoyable album in the traditions of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen for his debut under his new alias. As such , it's well worth a listen.
Essentially the solo project of Maarten Devoldere of the Belgian group Balthazar, We Fucked a Flame into being (a direct quote from Lady Chatterley’s lover) see’s Devoldere abandon some of the dark, editors like indie rock for dark, at times intimate pop/torch music, that references the likes of Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg in the first outing under his Warhaus alias.
It’s a record of love, and sex, and encounters, but also contradictions. Devoldere maintains that these appear on the record musically as concepts such as ‘raw vs. fundamentally passionate, brutal vs. romantic, art vs. Kitsch, archaic vs. modern’, and indeed there’s a certain timeless quality about the record, with its at times lavish orchestrations that traverse genres, from the aforementioned kictch – the italio-cool of ‘Against the rich’, quasi-Latin (time and again) and the romantic – the string lines of standout ‘Bruxelles’ enough to sweep you off your feet on its own.
Elsewhere though, the quality remains, with the dark twisted pop of ‘Leave with me’, the pure pop of ‘Memories’ and the off kilter lilt of ‘Machinary’ particular worthy of your time, but there’s more than just the music on offer, and more than just the gruff, deliberate delivery thats worthy of Cave and Cohen comparisons. There’s enough humour and understanding purveying his songs to interest his more illustrious comparisons, not to mention a certain amount of the Morrissey in his thinking. On the aforementioned ‘I’m not him’ “I’ve got one hand on a champagne drinking cunt/I’ve got the other up the ass of the establishment/And I can’t even distinguish which hand is which.” Or how about “You want magic, count me in/You want Jesus, well I’m not him.”
“It’s an ode to love, to its excesses and elusiveness,” says Devoldere. “Though love songs are a form of advertising: you portray a woman and the listener should fall in love with her too.” Consider us well and truly in love.