The side project of Balthazar’s Maarten Devoldere continues to bear dark fruit, and when you build a song upwards from a voice like his, you’re almost bound to wind up with something rich-toned and discomfiting. Here’s a man whose vocal tone sounds something like Matt Berninger after drinking a week’s worth of bourbon with Mark Lanegan.
The influence of Nick Cave on Warhaus is as unmistakable as ever and there is something of the menacing swagger of the antipodean master’s ‘Red Right Hand’ in ‘Love’s A Stranger’, only played in a subterranean jazz club, curled in smoke. There is anguished, dark sexuality here in ‘Kreusch’ (named for Devoldere’s girlfriend, whose vocals also appear on the record), while ‘Big Bang’ reaches for the starry blackness of the night with the flames of a brilliant, shimmering chorus.
‘Control’, meanwhile, sounds like a Bond theme played underwater. ‘Warhaus’ is a beautifully crafted album, brushed here and there with brass and sweeping strings, and while it’s sometimes one-paced, it’s really a marvellous kind of pace.