Patrick Watson: Love Songs for Robots

Patrick Watson defies all those who may consider him 'background music' by engulfing listeners in a sound experience that is definitely not just for robots.

Patrick Watson

Love Songs For Robots

Label Website:
Artist Website:
Label: Secret City

After an array of previous successful albums and winning the Polaris Music Prize in 2007 with the album Close to Paradise, Patrick Watson perhaps sensed a gap in the market this year when deciding to write Love Songs for Robots.

Although this unusual title prepares you up for warped vocals, non-stop synthesizer and (arguably) a bit of a headache, any apprehension is extinguished as soon as the album begins. The beginning track "Love Songs for Robots" immediately draws you in with an encompassing, eerie atmosphere before classic Patrick Watson (referring to the lead singer and the band) vocals creep up on you along with a subtle electronic feel, engulfing listeners from the very first note.

There is no time to recover as whining guitar then thrusts listeners into the next track "Good Morning Mr Woolf" which certainly wakes you up, before proceeding to chill you back down. This rollercoaster of varying instruments and styles continues throughout the album before ending in style on the more upbeat "Places You Will Go". Rocky drumbeat, twanging guitar and less of a whispered vocal begins the final track before the haunting, dreamlike atmosphere that began the album seeps back in and finishes the album in a similar manner to how it began.

Love Songs for Robots is perhaps the deepest Watson has gone into electronic type genres after previous experimentation in other albums such as Just Another Ordinary Day, with it adding a slight variety and welcomed new style to this album. Although definitely remaining in Patrick Watson territory, fans may be disappointed if they were hoping for the purely instrumental style that dominated many previous albums, however it must be stressed that although delving deeper into electronica, Watson is definitely still at the shallow end.

The most notable aspect of the music is the band's skill in maintaining a constant sound and theme to the album as a whole whilst still producing tracks with enough substance to stand alone. Arguably an album of 'back ground music' somehow Watson manages to stray from this, creating an album that draws you in and makes you want to stop what you are doing and sit and listen. Constantly varying instruments and styles to ensure no two songs are the same, with the use of guitar and piano, along with breathy, gentle vocals and good quality synthy goodness, the whole sound cannot be described as anything other than beautiful.

Contrary to the impression of the album title, an abundance of introspective and emotion filled lyrics feature throughout, although you will have to listen closely to make them out. Stand out tracks include "Bollywood" and "Places You Will Go" with a personal favourite being "In circles" featuring gentle piano music and layers of sound which have been constructed brilliantly, leaving you feeling like you are floating on a cloud.

Current fans of the Canadian singer-songwriter and his band will most likely greet this ten track album with the enthusiasm it deserves and those who are newbies to the Watson fan club I'm sure will be happy to add a sprinkling to their playlist. However, is the album soul-wrenching, earthquake producing, "I'll never listen to another album again" material? No, but as a relaxing musical experience Watson has done a brilliant job. I'm sure having your soul wrenched is overrated anyway.





How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?


The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.


'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.


​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.


Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.


Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.


Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.


Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.