At Least There’s Commotion, the latest LP from Ottawa’s Hilotrons, is a frantic remedy to the sedated state of Canadian music. After a five year hiatus, Michael Dubue has returned with a twitchy collection of new wave that might finally give the songwriter the attention he deserves.
With some help from talented friends (Jim Bryson, Jeremy Fisher and the sentimental gentleman, Mike Feuerstack all make an appearance) and thumping percussion, Dubue uses synths and piano to explore a seemingly bottomless pool of ideas and inspiration.
Whether it’s The Talking Heads, Kate Bush or The Cure, Dubue respectfully tips his cap to icons from previous decades but also makes sure the recipe is fresh and proudly displays his signature. Michael sings with the confidence of a classic front man; there’s a swagger in even the saddest notes and power in every falsetto yelp. These songs ooze sexuality and masculinity, but are never afraid to show a little tenderness.
At Least There’s Commotion’s greatest success is how it’s able to bend without breaking and never crumbles under the weight of ambition. Dubue meanders freely between soul, punk, singer/songwriter, rock, space country and dance floor anthems without ever losing the listener. 2013, please welcome your first surprise hit.