Midnight, Let's Get a Hot Dog
When it comes to annual awards like Canada’s Polaris Music Prize, sometimes the real winner isn’t the artist who takes home the oversized check, but the dark-horse contender who receives the greatest profile-boost from the nomination. And in 2018, that beneficiary was Hubert Lenoir, the gender-bending Francophone performer who wooed Anglo audiences with his divine art-pop opus, Darlène. But while that debut album introduced Lenoir to a wider audience, it was by no means his first musical venture. Since 2014, he’s been performing alongside his brother Julien Chiasson in Quebec City glam-rock outfit The Seasons, whose wild, exuberant second album serves as the champagne-popping capper to Lenoir’s breakout year.
The release is somewhat bittersweet: Midnight, Let’s Get a Hot Dog was one of the last albums recorded by indie-pop maverick Richard Swift, who passed away in July 2018. But it stands as a testament to Swift’s preternatural knack for bottling up a band’s crackling, live-in-the-room energy on record. Singing mostly in English, Lenoir and Chiasson lead the group through a set of swaggering ’70s glitter rock with tongues lodged firmly in cheek, whether name-dropping Deftones on the sleazy, piano-powered strut “Junk,” or quoting Harry Nilsson on the T. Rex-revved “Glorify.” Tunes like the teary cowpoke lament “Tangerine” and the synthy power-pop anthem “Knives” show yet another, more affecting side of the band.