Warhaus is the solo side project of Maarten Devoldere (songwriter and core member of acclaimed indie act Balthazar), Following 2016’s critically celebrated 'We F*cked A Flame Into Being', a lush, moody confessional album whose title comes from a line in D.H. Lawrence’s classic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
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Written largely on the road -- as well as on a retreat in Kyrgyzstan with no one but a local shepherd for company -- Maarten’s creative fires burned very bright indeed in the run-up to the new album. “I was sitting on a mountain of songs,” he avers. Recorded at home in Belgium, among the many stand-out tracks Warhaus offers are a softly lit, marimba-laden woozy meditation on adultery “Love’s A Stranger”; “Control,” Maarten’s story about “the beauty of man surrendering to a woman” set against a dark backdrop of voluptuous strings; and “Everybody” a dirt bag confessional ballad complete with a sing-along chorus: “When their girls are gone, men start watching porn, drink too much and piss in the sink. It’s about that,” wryly explains Devoldere.
The silky “No Such High” ditches worldly cynicism for an ode to how love can overpower and transcend all temptation. “It’s the first time I’ve embraced those feelings and written a love song without a bittersweet aftertaste,” asserts Maarten. As in all the songs, the interplay between Devoldere’s smoldering vocals and the velvety tones of Warhaus’ backing vocalist, Sylvie Kreusch (who is also his girlfriend) lends the music an intense intimacy and their contrasting personalities feed into the sensual dynamic. “We’ve very different people,” says Devoldere. “She’s this natural force which I don’t understand at all and I’m the guy who thinks everything through. It’s an interesting combination.”
A far more spontaneous affair than Warhaus’ debut release, Maarten gathered his touring band around him to make the new recording. “They’re not jazz musicians, but they’re good at faking jazz,” says Devoldere of the freeform sessions. “I got a taste for improvisation, which make the songs more alive.” The voodoo rhythms of Dr. John The Night Tripper’s seminal 1968 Gris-Gris weave throughout the album, after Devoldere became obsessed with the New Orleans legend’s singular sound.
For his second solo Warhaus album in as many years, Maarten Devoldere comes on like a millennial Leonard Cohen, singing deep, dark and groove-ridden songs of love and hate, oozing romance and searing brutality in the same breath. “This whole project is about my alter-ego, a dandyish character,” explains Devoldere. “I try to sound in control, but if you read the lyrics it becomes clear that I’m completely lost!”