By Willow Grier
While caught up in pondering the relationship between humanity and the advancement of robotic technology, Patrick Watson came to an apt conclusion. Despite many mechanical and perceptive similarities, what would differentiate us from the motorized most is our curiosity and ability to be inspired. Thus, he and the Montreal based band embarked on the fifth studio album Love Songs for Robots, a beautiful testament to that innovative inspiration. While highly synthesized, the album is not cold or automatic at all, but instead, colourfully warm and inviting. Often likened to Andrew Bird and Rufus Wainwright for his ingenuity, Watson is an exceptional composer, adept at fusing cascading sonic textures with his own haunting vocals. The title song of Love Songs For Robots builds in tidal fashion, gently blanketing listeners in transcendent melody. Watson’s voice shines particularly in this track, with an Antony Hegarty (of Antony and the Johnsons) style otherworldly resonance. The rest of the album follows suit, bringing moment after moment of indelibly radiant sound. “Hearts” displays nimble, intricately woven finger picking and boldly uplifting vocals, while “Turn Into The Noise” draws upon cabaret styling: it is baiting, sensual and deliberate. Watson and band utilize blues and classical influence throughout the remainder of the album, creating a handsomely well-rounded masterpiece that is easily one of the best releases of the year. Whether you are robot or not, these songs are sure to move you.