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The best kept secret in music


"One Nation Under Awed Album Review"

One Nation is a wiry, skeletal fidgety beast - in thrall to both the demented fuzz rock of Dinosaur Jr, and the gloomier, darker terrain of Joy Division. While the full force of Yakuzas' personality doesn't quite burst through, they don't have make a committed racket warning of it's approach

7/10 July 2004
- Colin Carberry - Hot Press

"Live Review"

Yakuza just keep getting better. An album in the can, they are now focusing on new material, and it's threatening to eclipse their already stellar back catalogue. Tonight in Auntie Annies they take to the stage with most of the crowd already knowing how good they are. This is about mopping up the dregs. Interestingly, they've evolved from their grunge roots to take on more angular bands like Fugazi, while throwing in a handful of swamp rock. Okay, it doesn't work on paper, but trust me, you have to hear it. Notes are still garotted out of guitars, the rhythm section sounds like it is teetering on the brink of chaos, but Yakuza are taling their own sound and running with it rather than running with someone elses. It seems like the natural step, the rhythms are more intricate, there's fewer swatches of noise and more pointed brush strokes. And the tunes are still there. The old standards are taken out to wow the audience, but their point is made. Anyone who doubted this is one of the best bands in the country is arguing against an impenetrable wall of sound. The fact that they have developed so effortlessly, consolidating their existing legacy and maintaining their own high standards, is a rare thing. They leave the stage with the audience wanting more, and not for the first time this year, Yakuza leave an atmosphere hanging in the air. Lile you've actually just witnessed something important.

April 2004 - Phil Crossey - u.tv

"Track Review - Badass Day"

"Yakuza do slice noise good. With notes and cherry bits"

from review of Smalltown America Records Public Service Broadcast Samper # 3

12th April 2004

- Peter White - drownedinsound.com

"Everyone Thinks I'm A Dinosaur 7" Review"

"Yakuza are LOUD!"

Oct 2002 - Everett True - Careless Talk Costs Lives

"One Nation Under Awed Album Review"

(translated from Spanish)

First disc from this quartet from Belfast that already we knew from their first demo. This surpasses without a doubt that scale model and it much more shows a mature band to us in form. It is not easy to define this sound but it thinks about the post-punk spirit of the thousand times mentioned latley Gang Of Four and the American influence of Dinosaur Jr and Superchunk. Intensity and a wall of brillant dirty guitars allow glimpses of melody. Everyone Thinks I'm A Dinosaur is a brilliant song as are Thackery, In One Eye And Out The Other, Your Face, the brilliant Murder At Murder Point and the darkest part of Miguel. A good disc recorded in Dublin by David Dubh Black (Mudhoney, Nebula, Therapy) It enchants us to discover new bands like this

April 2004 - ironskies.com

"One Nation Under Awed Album Review"

Belfast band Yakuza's long awaited debut album is a little misleading at first, opening with two good, but standard, indie-punk songs. By the time you get to third track "Everyone Thinks I'm A Dinosaur" it's obvious that this is one special Irish band. This song leads into "Badass Day", the best track on the album , with a fantastic riff that ebbs and flows in and out of distortion. There's plenty of late era Nirvana here, especially on "Miguel" but there is also rare energy in the punk tempos

4 stars out of 5 - Edel Coffey The Sunday Tribune

"One Nation Under Awed Album Review"

Finally. It seems like an age since Yakuza recorded this their debut long player. In realiyy it's only been a year but now you can hear the shambolic beauty, the shovels of noise and the slicing guitars in the comfort of you're own home. Quite rightly considered one of the best bands in Northern Ireland, the UK and quite possibly the world right now, they have fused the best bits of grunge, hardcore and swamp rock for over five years now. Honing their craft and forging ahead in true workmanlike fashion, they stand at the crossroads between creativity and pure hard work. Occaissionally they toss out great ideas, other times they work and work until a song is just right. The result is this record, I swiss army knife of guitar styles brought together on one disc. It's a heart-on-sleeve homage to Mudhoney, Shellac and Nirvana with a bit of Tom Waits thrown in but not in a crass, derivative way. "Badass Day" will probably go down as the stand out track, with it's knife against the throat sound but for me "Everyone Thinks I'm A Dinosaur" resonates more than any other song on the disc. Then again, I was always a fan: it's one of the best songs to emerge from these shores in quite some time. What makes One Nation Under Awed, though, is the feeling of a complete work, rather than a series of tunes strung together. It works from beginning to end, a well recorded slice of feedback that bristles with heat and intensity that never lets up. Complaints? Just one. This is a record of where Yakuza were a year ago. Since then they've grown, they've evolved and become an even better band. While I'm celebrating their first album there's a small part of me that's getting impatient for the next one. Still the juggernaut is officially moving. If ONUA had been released in 2003 it would have been one of the best albums of the year. I guess we'll just have to make room for it in the 2004 list.

No. 32 Alternative Ulsters Top 50 Albums of 2004 - Phil Crossey Alternative Ulster Magazine

"Live Review"

At times the band seem literally posssessed by their own stacatto ryhthms, wiry riffs and angular edges that fuse REM style melody with strung out Gang Of Four energy. Yakuza assail out senses in a violent yet pleasureable manner, spiritual nirvana delivered by the might of the riff.

- David Roy The Irish News

"Live Review"

Yakuza may never prostrate their art for the corporate machine, but they seem happy with their niche. There's a jubilation in the tone, a pride in the cacophony. At times the drummer threatens to abduct the songs entirely, to pummel without limitation, but then some provisional order is restored. We last saw them at Katy Daly's next door, and the tiny stage did them bo favours. Tonight, Ronan is having fun with the bonus space up there, throwing shapes, bellowing words that are mostly inaudiblem, hefty esscence of leftfield rock and roll

26th April 2004 - Stuart Bailie - BBC Radio Ulster

"Live Review"

As Ronan Yakuza begins to twang his guitar, there are more than a few young females around my table who are starting to swoon. Yakuza are the type of band who you'd like to go for a night on the beer with but could also take home to your ma. They're nice guys who play wicked music. Their local hit "Everyone Thinks I'm A Dinosaur" is causing a fair few whoops of approval and the general feeling after their set is that Yakuza may be on to something.

14th March 2003 - Edwin Mc Fee - BBC Radio Ulster


"Everyone Thinks I'm A Dinosaur" 7" Single 1970 Records 2002

"One Nation Under Awed" Album Nova Records 2004

Tracks from both releases received airplay on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio Ulster, 2 FM and Today FM


Feeling a bit camera shy


Yakuza are a Belfast / Coalisland based band who play rock music with a heavy interest on the noise, melody and rhythm and the ways in which they interact. Initially brought together by a shared love of noisy yet melodic guitar trash (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, REM) and some spectecularly poor A-Level results, the band formed in small town Co. Tyrone in 1997 and consists of:

Ronan Quinn – guitar and vocals
David Mc Cann – guitar and vocals
Philip Mc Kernan – bass
James Mc Donald – drums

A move to Belfast and deeper emmersion in the wider Northern Ireland music scene followed and Yakuza has developed a small but perfectly formed and fiercely loyal local fanbase thanks to an incendiary (in some cases literally) live show that has seen the band open for such legends of Northern Irish music as The Undertones and Therapy? as well underground favourites such has Liars, Oxes and Electric Eel Shock.

The bands sound has developed along the course of a series of demo tapes, CDRs, compilation appearances and 7”s, incorporating new influences such as punk funk rhythms (Pil, The Birthday Party) post-rock instrumentals (Slint, Don Caballero) and alt-country story telling (Wilco, Palace)

This development in sound coalesced on the bands debut album “One Nation Under Awed” recorded by Seattle based producer David Dubh Black and released on the bands own Nova Records label in 2003.

Not many people bought “One Nation Under Awed” but everyone who did, formed a band and the critics went wild for it:

“…they leave the stage with the audience wanting more and not for the first time this year, Yakuza leave and atmosphere hanging in the air. Like you’ve actually just witnessed something important. Anyone who doubted this is one of the best bands in the country is arguing against and impenetrable wall of sound…”

Phil Crossey, Alternative Ulster Magazine.

“…at times the band seem literally possessed by their own staccato rhythms, wiry riffs and angular edges that fuse REM style melody with strung out Gang Of Four energy. Yakuza assail our senses in a violent yet pleasureable manner, spiritual nirvana delivered by the might of the riff…”

David Roy, The Irish News.

“…Yakuza seem intent on making you want to rip your ears off, such is the unrelenting ferocity of their melodic post-whatever noise. ‘Everyone Thinks I’m A Dinosaur’ sounds anthemic, like it could shift mountains…”

David Mc Laughlin, Creativeni.com

“…Yakuza have plenty of the Cobain spirit, fuzzing it up nicely with twisted talking blues and feedback ruling forever…”

StuartBailie, BBC Radio Ulster

Yakuza have toured widely in their young lives including four visits to the UK, one trip to Italy and multiple jaunts around Ireland. They are currently working on their second album