Difficult-to-categorise band based in Glasgow
, Scotland, but mostly English. Lyrics
which sound like snippets from random conversations
run through a blender
and spoken repetitively in different permutations
by a small hyperactive schoolchild, accompanied by minimalist
percussion and melodic little guitar riffs. Brilliant.
Debut album "Any Other City" track list:
- PS Exclusive
- Let's Get Out
- The Leanover
- Young Offenders
- Fourteen Days
- New Town
Released in 2000 on Tugboat
Band lineup is:
Sue Tompkins (vocals)
Robert Johnston (guitar)
Chris Evans (not that Chris Evans!) (bass)
Will Bradley (Drums)
The first time I heard Life Without Buildings was sometime towards the end of
the year before last. I was unhappy.
Flexitime had allowed me to pour into my job as much of myself as I cared to lose.
I arrived back at my sole-occupied flat at about eleven after cycling half-asleep through
what was left of the Cambridge traffic, almost confident that the big iron back at the
office was doing enough work on my behalf that I could sleep for the night. Without pause for
thought or food I undressed and fell into bed, turning on the radio to let uncle John
play me something to listen to as I fell asleep. My ears pricked up at the mention of a new band from
Glasgow, and then he played 'New Town'. It was beautiful. I listened to the plain and melancholy
raw emotion and fragmented imagery of the vocal, and thought of home. I thought of the
recent events that had made me question the ideas of happiness that I'd set safely aside as
impossible and realise that they held no happiness for me. I thought about the choices I'd made in
my life, and the reasons I'd made them.
I was unhappy, but I'd found something beautiful.
In September the next year, following what can only be described as a thoroughly
miserable time, I took some time off to visit home and family. I noticed with glee that
LWB were playing The 13th Note. Though live music would normally be
entirely outside my normal asocial range of activities, I'd decided I wanted to see LWB, and
some of my friends from uni, preferrably at the same time. I put the idea
forward and it died on me, eventually eliciting only one positive response, from one of my
closer friends who I'd previously introduced to LWB by the normal route of a mix MD.
Well, I had a little crisis then. I realised I'd been relying on my group to run with the idea,
that I could be swept up with their momentum and forget that it was ever my own idea. I can run
with the crowd when I try, but to take an initiative of my own... I couldn't do it. Social
activity and live music, I realised, were never part of what I'd told myself should belong in my
life. I shouldn't need these things. I crawled back into my shell, back into my safe little corner of life.
Until some short time later, when it suddenly hit me how much I'd wanted to see the band. I'd let my
issues and my hang-ups push me away from something which I'd really wanted. And I think, in some
a way, that point was when I first decided that, despite how hard I'd worked to be the person I am, that
maybe, in many ways, that's no longer who I want to be.
So perhaps I should blame Sue Tompkins for this,
and whatever else may follow. Or maybe I should thank her.