Maarten Devoldere is a Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, known for being one-half of the songwriting and vocalist duo of critically applauded, indie rock outfit and JOVM mainstays Balthazar — and for his equally acclaimed solo project, Warhaus.
With Warhaus, Devoldere cemented a reputation for crafting urbane, literature and decadent art rock with an accessible, pop-leaning sensibility: Devoldere’s Warhaus debut, 2016’s We Fucked A Flame Into Being derived its title from a line in DH Lawrence’s seminal, erotic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. And naturally, the material on the album thematically focused on lust, desire, the inscrutability of random encounters, bittersweet and aching regret with the deeply personal, confessional nature of someone baring their soul.
Interestingly, the material on Devoldere’s sophomore Warhaus album 2017’s self-titled album saw the acclaimed Belgian artist moving away from decadence, lust and sin towards sincere, honest, hard-fought and even harder-won love with some of the songs being influenced by Devoldere’s relationship with vocalist Sylvie Kreusch. The recording sessions for the album was a much more spontaneously affair, heavily influenced by Dr. John‘s Night Tripper period: Throughout the album, there are nods to voodoo rhythms and New Orleans jazz despite the fact that his backing band wasn’t technically known for being jazz musicians.
The slow-burning “Open Window” is the first bit of new Warhaus material since 2017’s self-titled album. Centered around Devoldere’s brooding baritone, strummed acoustic guitar, a Quiet Storm-like groove, twinkling piano and a gorgeous, cinematic string arrangement, “Open Window” is the sort of song meant to gently sway along to with eyes closed, drifting off into your own nostalgic dreams — or perhaps delusions.
In fact, the song is rooted in delusion — in particular, the delusion that the breakup isn’t permanent, that she (or he) will return soon enough. But it’s all just vapor and denial.
“Open Window is about keeping reality at bay in that comfortable bubble of denial. Definitely my favourite stage of heartbreak,” Delvodere explains.
Directed by Pieter De Cnudde, the accompanying video for “Open Window” follows Devoldere as he eats steamed mussels alone at a table for two. About half way into the video, we see what appears to be Devoldere’s possessions being tossed out into a window and smashing to the ground behind him. All of this occurs in a surreal, dream-like slow motion.