Rescued from The Wayback Machine by TISM Self Storage. This was originally published in the form it appears below on the now-defunct www.tism.wanker.com site.

www.tism.wanker.com

You might be surprised by TlSM's new album. If you're looking for the trademark TISM elements stomping beats, upbeat melodies, and Iyrics like nobody else writes you'll certainly find them here. But there's a whole lot else going on too. Some reviewers will no doubt grab the Iyric sheet for dissection and toss the rest away - but they will be missing a big part of the picture. If TlSM's last album hinted that the band were beginning to use the studio to advantage rather than mistrust it, then www.tism.wanker.com sees TISM really stretching out and having fun with the 3 minute pop song. This album bursts with ideas, an obvious love for pop music old and new, and dare we say it - evidence of inspiration at work. Are we talking about TISM here?


Tracks

(There's Gonne Be) Sex Tonite Whatareya Dumb 'N' Base
Thunderbirds Are Coming Out Been Caught Wankin' Denial Works For Me
The Parable Of Glenn McGrath's Haircut I Might Be A Cunt But I'm Not A Fucking Cunt Yob
Great Expectorations A Hard-Earned Thirst Needs A Big Cold Beer, But I Drink To Get Pissed The Men's Room



The album opens with the pelvic thrust of (There's Gonna Be) Sex Tonite. Try to imagine The Prodigy playing "Roll Over Lay Down" by Status Quo. TlSM's penchant for genre transplanting surfaces again as acid bass collides with that unmistakable waistcoat-and-flares beat, samples fly at you left, right and centre, (including The Ted Mulry Gang's 70s classic "Jump In My Car" and the TISM techno synths throb out a pulse that's not nearly as daggy as you'd think.

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Don't be fooled by the sudden stabs of 70s disco strings swishing across the landscape of track two on the album. Whatareya is classic TISM - maddeningly catchy, upbeat pop with the now trademark TISM falsetto chorus. In TlSM's usually unforgiving world view, you are either a yob or a wanker, and in this song TISM claim to be both.

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If the last track was familiar territory for TISM, the album now takes an unprecedented turn on Dumb'N'Base. The beats per minute suddenly slow down, and we enter a swirling atmospheric track brilliantly produced by Magoo which delivers its message with a caress rather than the usual slap in the face. What really makes this track is the almost haunting melody spiralling its way through the dense soundscape. There are two unmistakable voices in TISM, but there are obviously two other very capable singers in the band, who deliver TlSM's bleakly humorous view of night time culture, Melbourne style -

Frankie Knuckles ain't worth a damn
Here In fuckknuckle buck's night mini-bus land

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This is followed by Thunderbirds Are Coming Outwhere TISM brilliantly stretch and shoehorn giant slabs of the theme from 60s Australian TV show Division 4 into 3 minutes of driving techno-pop. The central character of the song is obsessed with conformity, and his heroes are the puppets on Thunderbirds -

5.4,3,2, 1 Sing If You're Proud To Be Plastic Now

The strutting melodrama of the orchestra works brilliantly against TlSM's driving guitars, like Bittersweet Symphony would sound if the drugs did work.

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Genre-hopping again takes place on Been Caught Wankin' where we stumble from a hip-hop groove into a country stomp, complete with some of the album's most acerbic Iyrics –-

We all saw the funeral for Lady Di -
and didn't you want to barf
The media all with their snouts in the sky crocodile tears caught in their eye -
you had to be heartless not to laugh

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At this point, the pace again slows for two tracks which further stretch our expectations of TISM. Denial Works For Me may have a completely facetious Iyric but the musical backdrop is quite a headphone experience. Over fantastically incongruous samples of sitars, country steel guitar and chattering voices, a sinuous G-Soul groove goes into battle with monstrous distorted bass -and yet it all flows together with H. B. Flaubert's soulful croon.

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TISM then take you into space with The Parable Of Glenn McGrath's Haircut. A narrative from R. Hitler-Barassi is under-pinned by shimmering echoey dub and sub-sonic bass, and you find yourself going down, down into the abyss before a typically acidic finale reminds you who you're listening to. Another great production job, this time from Laurence Maddy.

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If you're missing good ol' one-dimensional TISM at this point, the balance is firmly restored for most of the remainder of the album, starting with the unforgettably titled I Might Be A Cunt, But I'm Not A Fucking Cunt. Only TISM would release a song like this as a single. Or, more to the point, only TISM would write the catchiest pop tune of the year and, with that title, assign it straight to commercial radio-programmers bins.

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Yob was the single that preceded the album. A little Hawaiian weirdness aside, this is the most conventional dance-pop track on the album, (or, as H. B. Flaubert describes it, 'Acid-wash House’)

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TISM can't resist a bit of silliness. Great Expectorations is pure daggy punk-pop, delivering another dose of TlSM's unwise advice to people with problems, and features a completely bizarre duelling drum machines middle section.

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And, further proof that TISM grew up on punk is A Hard-Earned Thirst Needs A Big Cold Been But I Drink To Get Pissed. But don't be thinking this song sounds like Green Day. Well, not unless Billy Joe Tolliver sang in Vietnamese and wielded an 80s dance synth instead of a guitar...

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Finally, the new TISM album ends with a surreal camp-fire sing-a-long, The Men's Room. With R. Hitler-Barassi screaming verses in the guise of some kind of suburban version of Michael Douglas' character in Falling Down, TISM manage to segue amazingly into a beautifully languid chorus complete with chiming Rickenbacker and multi-tracked Byrds-like harmonies You even forget they're singing I've gone and pissed thirty years up against a wall.

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So there it is. Sure - it's all tinged with playfulness, and it would be unwise to get too reverential about anything this band does, but the fact remains - TISM have made an album that reveals more and more as you delve deeper. This is an album that clearly didn't get made overnight, and within it's own stringent pop song limitations, is the most ambitious thing the band have done. It will reward repeated listenings.

And that's not even looking at the Iyric sheet.

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