Unlike Patrick Watson's previous release, the home-recorded Adventures in Your Own Backyard, Love Songs for Robots was recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and Studio Pierre Marchand in Montreal. While the result may not be quite as sparse or intimate, despite a much shorter list of instruments and collaborators, it's at least as intense and melancholic. Also unlike Adventures, synths are featured prominently on the record. Love Songs for Robots' overriding emotion is one of yearning, with minor keys, sobbing electric guitars including slides, and wistful, dissonant synths, such as on the eerie "Good Morning Mr. Wolf" ("Getting tired of wasting worries/Why not let the worries worry for themselves for a change"). Similarly, emotive vocals and guitar affect the stunning, distorted blues lament "Turn into the Noise." Bending, humming pitches from all instrumentation create a more ambient setting for the album and an otherworldly effect, like a fictional chamber pop band from the Twin Peaks universe. The elegant, meandering "Hearts" mixes acoustic and electric tones to slowly develop a sweet folk tune into a driving, modulating art rock piece, and whether on the Abbey Road-like "Grace" or the beautifully atmospheric "In Circles," Watson's wispy falsetto blends with mournful guitar like a sibling act with a chip on its shoulders. In the end, Love Songs for Robots is well represented by its title: weird, heartfelt, haunting, stimulating, and unexpectedly sultry; it holds much for humans to appreciate, too.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson