Life Without Buildings was a Scotland based indie-rock band of the early 2000s, named after a b-side by the band Japan. Unfortunately this album and a few singles was all they ever released, as they were really short lived, forming in 1999 and disbanding in 2002. However, this record is a cult-classic for a reason. It’s mesmerizing, whimsical, fun and a unique take on math rock.
Sue Tompkins, the vocalist, has an insanely mesmerizing way of talk-singing near-nonsense lyrics in such a way that it begins to make sense. It’s not what she’s saying, it’s the way she’s saying it. You want to sing with her, engaging in the childlike mumbling right there with her. It’s unlike anything I’ve heard (although, I’m sure other things like this exist, and if you know of them, please let me know) and it keeps me engaged in the music.
The melodies are enchanting, the instruments are prominent but not overpowering and the lyricism makes absolutely no sense: it’s the perfect storm for good art-rock.
This ten-track record clocks in at 44 minutes and 31 seconds, and it’s impossible to not savor every moment.
When doing research for this album review, I found a Youtube comment by user Devon Reed on a video that summed the band up perfectly: “Did what many great bands do. Recorded one great album. Broke up shortly thereafter. Forever preserved as a moment of perfection.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, Devon. There’s not much else for me to say besides, give it a chance. And if you still don’t like it, listen to it until you do (at least a little bit).