The latest offering from Montreal’s Patrick Watson is a slick slice of daydreaming space-folk. It’s not a genre that you hear about too often, and that’s probably because I’ve just made it up. Whatever you want to call it, it’s an intriguing listen.
Subtle and experimental, Watson fuses light R&B beats with piano nuances and celestial synths. Album highlight, ‘Bollywood’, roars with cyborg elegance. Strong Vangelis tones surging beneath twangy guitars, all suitably drenched in glorious reverb, set the scene as replicants dance in the LA twilight.
The stronger songs are unevenly weighted on the first half of the record. The title track is a simplistic soft-rock opener that plods along before opening up to a wall of galactic keyboard layers. The sci-fi tones return time and time again throughout the album, injecting the indie-folk template with dashes of something unusual and completely engaging. ‘Good Morning Mr. Wolf’ contains beautiful resonated guitar melodies, twinkling dashes of piano and an infectious beat. The chorus crashes in as the thunderous drums colour a once serene spacescape in a marvellous juxtaposed splash of sonic tempers. Flamenco guitars surge through ‘Hearts’ with more resonated guitar and vocal effects that sound like an absurd cross between a Hawaiian pedal steel jam and a UFO taking off.
The latter stages of the album lack the inspiration of previous numbers however and the songs somewhat wash into each other. The exceptions come in the pleasant reveries of ‘In Circles’ and ‘Alone in this World’. The shortest tracks on the album, they contain some of its purest and most honest sounding moments. Intimate piano and acoustic guitars highlight Watson’s soft vocal style and lyrics that often get lost in the epic banks of echo.
Patrick Watson deserves plenty of recognition for his latest release. It’s a breath of fresh air amongst a stagnant pool of staple singer-songwriter indie-pop affairs and it’s an album that will undoubtedly grow on the listener with each successive listen. Kick back, chill out and get lost in the swirling worlds of ‘Love Songs for Robots’. Better still, do some stargazing while you’re at it and keep an eye out for those steel-guitar wielding aliens.
A hauntingly beautiful album that conjures up a unique blend of space prog and indie folk.