Maarten Devoldere is one of the frontmen in Balthazar, but he is also Warhaus. This project is all about late-night songwriting, in the vein of previous moody artistes like Leonard Cohen. The guitars and synth-sounds of We Fucked A Flame Into Being are a perfect fit with Devoldere’s deep showman’s voice. Out on Play It Again Sam.
- LP £16.99
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- PIASR900LPX / Indies only heavyweight vinyl LP Play It Again Sam
- Includes download code
4/10 Robin Staff review, 31 August 2016
Not only has Warhaus (a.k.a Maarten Devoldere) named his record in reference to a D. H. Lawrence novel about fucking, he’s also framed his album art to resemble a confusing aftershave/perfume advert and sung the lyric “you’re an angel or a whore / tell me who you’re working for / loving you isn't easy you know / but it's a motherfucker not to do so” within the first two minutes of his pretty awful, presumably accidentally twee record. As we get further into ‘We Fucked a Flame Into Being’ we discover… that he is an annoying man. Who likes to whisper.
Given his weird and totally confused approach indie pop, Devoldere’s sort of like the devil shoulder of Jens Lekman. His record relies on twinkling twilit piano, bass lines that seem to scream “it is the evening and I am trying to emerge from behind a curtain of smoke” in their obviousness and vocal duets so quietly whispered that they may as well just be snores. Devoldere’s sinister pop, half baroque and half goth, is actually musically okay, in its layman’s terms -- the riffs of “Good Lie” are enjoyable if a bit melodramatic and fanciful, while the hand drums sound kinda corny and pantomimic -- but the atmosphere veers on self-parody, stretching his self-serious suit-wearing coos way past their limits. “Leave With Me” sounds like it’s trying to sound hushed and subtle, but among the sultry bass and breathy percussion it comes into place with a brief piano melody as bright as Mika.
After a while all the songs begin to resemble each other, the piano occasionally disappearing for distorted guitars, but the general weird juxtapositions remain: handclaps and excited harmonies over a grumbled, faux-gulped vocal that seems to have read from the wrong memo. “Machinery” seems to veer into brighter territory, while the absent-minded strums and farty brass of “Wanda” make for a nice respite from our leading man -- until he starts breathing heavy rhythmic breaths over proceedings. Bad, but don’t take it from us: let’s hear from the Warhaus himself.
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- We Fucked A Flame Into Being by Warhaus
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