REVIEW: Warhaus - We ****** A Flame Into Being

Warhaus - We ****** A Flame Into Being (Play It Again Sam).
Warhaus - We ****** A Flame Into Being (Play It Again Sam).

Despite it's somewhat risque title, this deliciously dark record topped the charts in Belgium, and it's little wonder.

Warhaus is the solo recording project of Maarten Devoldere, co-vocalist with Belgian indie-pop band Balthazar, who have enjoyed minor success at home and in France and Holland.

The title is a quote from the controversial DH Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley's Lover, and one that means it's not going to get too many mentions on daytime radio.

That's a shame, because this debut album is a wonderful slice of 60s-tinged pop noir, of the sort that made Serge Gainsbourg (in)famous), and which Nick Cave does so well.

Devoldere says the album is “an ode to love, to its excesses and elusiveness,“ and it's certainly that.

Playing his Jane Birkin-esque muse and foil, and providing seductive backing vocals is Sylvie Kreusch, who is pictured with him on the cover.

There's a timeless quality about the music, which is sparse at times and features lavish orchestras at others, and if you approach it in the right frame of mind, it'll have you hooked from the start.

The 10 tracks have a throwback jazz-club feel, without ever lapsing into self-indulgence, and the record is notable for its retro feel.

Against The Rich, with its anarchic overtones, and no-punches-pulled lyrics, is probably the standout track, but next time you listen it might be the nostalgia-steeped Memory, or the sultry Leave With Me.

Like much of Cave's Bad Seeds output, and all of Leonard Cohen's back catalogue, it's a record to be listened to at night, with a large glass of something comforting. 8/10.