The questions surrounding this band and this release are endless. For one, where has it been? Apparently recorded in 2002, heaven knows where Vs Reality has been in the interim. Did TCFTSIST have trouble finding a label brave enough to release it? Was the producer too embaraased to put his name to it? Or did TCFTSIST just forget that they recorded it? With the current furore surrounding drugs in music, it is highly plausible that TCFTSIST decided to release this now just to upset the do gooders of the media.
On this evidence, TCFTSIST certainly seem to enjoy some mind altering chemicals to add to their own creative “genius.” Either that or they are just completely bonkers. Taking the most unhinged moments of The Beta Band, Add N to X and The Polyphonic Spree, TCFTSIST create the quirkiest, zaniest pop music you will find outside of a Flaming Lips hoe down. Everything goes into the mix, nothing is spared. All those buttons on the Casio Keyboard that never seem to have a place in music get a full airing here. The occassional horse neigh or church bell get thrown in for good measure and it wouldn’t come as any suprise if TCFTSIST made space in the studio for the horse.
Does it make any sense? With a collective mass of 25+ members you would expect chaos and a collision of ideas that lack any real coherence and to be fair that is exactly what you get. An Angels Help is built around a nursery rhyme rhythm which permeates the entire track but in the interim every other instrument is picked up and discarded at will, so often, that come the end you are awestruck that the intial ryhthm still remains. Speak and Spell is equally nuts, but is built around a statment of intent spelt out through the entire bands name i.e. “T is for TCFTSIST- H is for hello and welcome wherever you are- E is for everyone, everywhere- Y is for why don’t you switch your stereo off and go and do something less boring instead….” and so on…..
Astro National Anthem closes this mini album and leaves many more unanswered questions: What the hell do you have on your rider when there are 25 (or more) of you? How do they fit on the stage down the local Dog and Duck? Would you pay to watch such a discordiant rabble? Its a big old universe and the answers are probably out there somewhere, but for now I’ve got my pants on my head, pencils up my nose and TCFTSIST on the stereo. Absolute bliss or unending nightmare? A bit of both.