Review of tism.bestoff, Danielle O'Donohue, Inpress, 24/7/02


While Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue and the two other members of Crowded House are Melbourne's biggest musical exports, it's the bands who have stayed to toil year after year around the local scene that make Melbourne living, breathing musical beast that it is. And of all of these it is probably TISM that has the most parochial following.

Everything about TISM (short for This Is Serious Mum, but you knew that, right?) polarises audiences, from their suburban themes, ironic/comic lyrics to their habit of appearing in public always wearing masks and outrageous costumes. I mean, who can forget that Big Day Out appearance when each member was wearing a black suit covered in different coloured neon lights?

But that's the point, isn't it/ Who wants to slip under the radar when, if you jump up and down a bit, you can get the alarms going, lights flashing and sirens sounding. See, isn't that a whole lot more fun?

And with song titles like Defecate On My Face, All Homeboys Are Dickheads and The Phillip Ruddock Blues, TISM were never going to slip under the radar. Instead they took a trip out to the suburbs, climbed the highest mobile phone tower and shouted to all and sundry "What are ya? You're a wanker!".

It took a while for everyone to get the message but with the release of album Machiavelli and the Four Seasons, TISM hit the charts, thanks to first mainstream hits (He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River, All Homeboys Are Dickheads and Greg! The Stop Sign, which are all included here.

All TISM fans will want different songs on this "best off" but when you've got a back catalogue dating back to 1986 there's quite a bit to select from. Saturday Night Palsy is a personal favourite, with its anthemic qualities, while the first chorus of Greg! The Stop Sign! always stirs the blood. There's a lot missing here but isn't there always on a best of? Thankfully Get Thee To A Nunnery makes the cut while two new songs (The Phillip Ruddock Blues and Sid Viscous) and a Machine Gun Fellatio re-mix of Defecate round out the collection.

Oh, and there's lots of references to footy in the sleeve notes, so big winner there.


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