LIFE WITHOUT BUILDINGS Live At The Annandale Hotel (Gargleblast)
Life Without Buildings were a Glaswegian quartet affiliated with the citys School of Art, who released only one album, Any Other City during their brief lifespan. Its since been joined by Live At The Annandale Hotel, a recording of a December 2002 gig in Sydney.
Its worth the admission fee for singer Sue Tompkins deliciously gauche stage banter alone, taking a metaphorical sledgehammer to the cocooning mystique some other bands shelter beneath. Heres a couple of choice examples to whet your appetite: Were here tomorrow so were just gonna do the same songs in a different order, and, on returning for an encore, We didnt do anything, we just sort of wiped off some sweat and that was it; sat around for 30 seconds.
Its almost a bonus that Life Without Buildings music isnt terrible. They make an untrammelled racket thats equal parts The Slits and The Pastels, often little more than a canvas for Tompkins to daub her stream-of-consciousness free-associating wordplay over. Not unlike spending an hour ricocheting around a padded cell, Live At The Annandale isnt heavy on old-fangled concepts like hooks, choruses and structure, but the Buildings can still put some rumbling rock dynamics together when required. Sorrow is possibly the albums most conventional moment, a ballad in the style of the third Velvet Underground album, at least until its infiltrated by Sues verbal jump-cutting.
Not for everybody, Live At The Annandale Hotel is still a vital expansion of a slim discography. Essential for fans, its still intriguing for the rest of us.