Life Without Buildings' only LP, Any Other City, is getting a welcome reissue. The Glaswegian art-rockers have gathered a loyal band of followers since the album was originally released in 2001. This classic album is limited to only 600 copies for the UK and Ireland - so don't hesitate, when it's gone, it's gone!
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- Any Other City by Life Without Buildings
9/10 AndyL Customer review, 1st December 2014
The most memorable review I've ever read of this album is probably the worst. It was in the NME when it came out yonks ago and basically said, "Oh, it's not bad but the singer's annoying'. This fundamentally misses the point of 'Any Other City'; this album is, to a large degree, all about Sue Tompkins, who dominates proceeding from the off. Her amazing voice and brilliant stream of consciousness lyrics whip back and forth over phrases time and again, wringing subtle nuances and meanings from them in ways that a poor NME hack simply couldn't be expected to understand.
That isn't to say that the music is perfunctory. On the contrary, LWB's warm, tricksy post-punk builds from wiry, grinding, circular riffs right up into sweeping climaxes; it gets pulled along in the wake of Tompkins' poetic brilliance but has a rich, jagged beauty of it's own. "Let's Get Out" stands out for me, a radiant, thrilling pop song on an album that tends more towards cinematic development rather than head-spinning moments, but it's hardly the only thing worth returning to. The point in 'Juno' where the song breaks out from it's slow-down into the glorious 'my lips are sealed' section is probably the finest sequence on the album. The stately, majestic 'Envoy' and the spiky, malevolent 'Young Offenders' are also highlights, but I could single out any one of the songs and find perfection within it's bounds.
If I have a quibble, it's a fairly churlish one in that it's record that takes time to grow on the listener; you have to be prepared to give it your attention if you want to be rewarded in full by it's elegant structures and Tompkin's striking artistry. But in an increasingly disposable age, records that assume that someone out there might actually make the effort really ought to be cherished. Finally reissued after a long period of obscurity, this really is unmissable.
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