Review of tism.bestoff, possibly by Cameron B. White, possibly in Catalyst, possibly in August


TISM must be pretty happy; signed to Festival Mushroom Records, most of their more obsessive fans having now dropped out of Art college, graduated computer science and working for a good income – as conservative as TISM purport to be in the CD liner notes, and able to buy their new “bestoff” CD. (Don't bother writing in - this refers to someone specific. - Ms .45)

It feels like Fushroom don’t let them get away with as many, um, TISMisms as they used to. Both this CD and De Rigueurmortis were a bit too conventional – that is essentially very good, but from a band who released a 7” single glued inside a 12” cover, you expect something to negate the experience.

“bestoff” is subtitled “retrospective works 86/02”. The theme of the CD cover is art and gallery, but once TISM say they’re art, I think they’re obliged to try to take art down from within. The gallery photos were of a pretty normal exhibition: cover artwork and costumes and the format of the CD didn’t deal with art at all. Where was the handheld audio guide offering wanky art justifications before each piece? Or dubbed over each piece?

Having casually acquired a couple of TISM CDs when I saw them cheap and bought De Rigueurmortis because it came with a free gig, this is probably the CD I was looking for. All the classic TISM is there: Defecate On My Face, Greg! The Stop Sign!, Lillee Caught Dilley Bowled Milli Vanilli and others.

For a limited time unknown to me, “bestoff” comes with a limited edition bonus disk, a collection of “bedroom recordings 1982-1992”. This is of great anthropological interest, but it might not be a selling point for everybody. If you’re listening on a computer, my tip is to play the tracks in reverse (chronological) order.

“bestoff” functions well as a TISM primer for those who are yet to dabble in the balaclava-ed ones and the trainspotting TISM fans will know better than me what material on the CD is hard to get. Everybody needs a little TISM, even if just for something ironic to play when the neighbours downstairs are playing their shit suburban crap (sounds a lot like domestic violence set to music).

three and a half stars


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