Beyond the Stars
Perhaps Bank Holiday Monday isn't the best night to be playing in any city in these blighted isles. It's certainly not the best time to be playing Devon's capital of apathy, Exeter. And before you say anything I'll just add here and now that usually I plead as guilty as the next person. But not tonight. No not tonight. Because tonight Life Without Buildings, purveyors of wild Bop Art Pop and the most fluid rhythm this side of The Sea and Cake, suppliers of one of the very finest albums of the year with Any Other City, are in town.
Life Without Buildings sound like the best dance band ever, with a natural style that seems to both flow with perfect fluidity and jerk with fractured magnificence all at the same time. It's no mean feat. The problem of course is that no-one dances. It's only to be expected of course, because this is England, and people just don't do that kind of thing, particularly when there are only twenty bodies on the dancefloor and everyone feels a bit awkward, like, not knowing... anyone... else... or what to do ... AND ...
I have an excuse of course, having tired legs from an afternoon spent cycling the hills and valleys of Devon, but I can't stop my head from twitching and my feet from tapping on the beer stained floor. And naturally too, I'm dancing inside. Again.
Life Without Buildings might sound like Big Flame if Big Flame had been Art students, which is either to say that Life Without Buildings sound heaven sent, or that Life Without Buildings are your worst nightmare. If it's the latter then you have cloth ears and if it's the former then you are old enough to know that such comparisons are pointless and irrelevant. As is suggesting that Life Without Buildings plough similar furrows to Pere Ubu, and that at times in a song like the magnificently extended 'New Town' you almost expect the guitars to go off ringing and segueing into 'Marquee Moon'.
Life Without Buildings sound strange in the current climate which celebrates dumb, blanked out aggressively banal Rock because their aggression is carefully poised, is as smartly polished and balanced as an antique switchblade. They make simply the finest noise imaginable at the moment and prove that what it's all about (what's that It? What about Life, what about Pop? What about a Life of Pop and a Pop of Life?) balancing the elements (of Pop, of Life, of... you get the idea) and then upsetting that balance at opportune moments; creating chaos out of order and order out of chaos. Never to wallow in the expected and the comfortable.
Life Without Buildings make a racket that connects with hips and heads; make a sublime sound that travels higher than the sun and beyond the stars, an Arkestra of PopNoise no less. It's just a shame there aren't more people around to witness them on their journey and to wish them well as they go.
© Alistair Fitchett