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"Alternative Ulster Magazines Top 50 Northern Irish Songs Of The Last Five Years"

No 14 Yakuza 'Shirts And Skins'

Specializing in sonic terrorism, fearsome four piece Yakuza have been carving out and exceptionally noisy niche for themselves since they first burst on to the scene at the turn of the decade. 'Shirts And Skins' sees the band at their spikiest as Davey and Ronan trade ugly riffs like insults with Jamesy and Philip providing the thunderous rhythms. Occupying the same territory as The Jesus Lizard and Drive Like Jehu, their music is earnest, heart felt and raw as an open wound. It might not be the prettiest song you've ever heard, but it's definitely one of the most life-affirming. - Edwin McFee (Alternative Ulster Magazine)

"Live Review"

Yakuza have plenty of the Cobain spirit, fuzzing it up nicely with twisted talking blues and feedback ruling forever - Stuart Bailie BBC Northern Ireland

"Live Review"

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 MacLaughlin

"Live Review"

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

"Live Review"

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

"One Nation Under Awed Album Review"

In reality it's been a year, but now you can hear the shambolic beauty, the shovels of noise and the slicing guitars in the comfort of your own home.

Quite rightfully considered among the best bands in Northern Ireland, UK and possibly even 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. Occasionally they toss out great ideas, other times they work and work until a song is just perfect.

The result is this record, a Swiss army knife of guitar styles brought together on one disc.

It's a heart-on-the-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 standout track, with its knife-against-the-throat sound, but for me Everyone Thinks I'm A Dinosaur resonates more than any other tune on the disc. Then again, I was always a fan: it's one of the greatest tunes 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? Well, just one. This record is a snapshot of where Yakuza were a year ago. Since then they've grown, they've evolved and they've become an even better band. While I'm celebrating the release of 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 One Nation Under Awed 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 space in the 2004 list. - Phil Crossey (Alternative Ulster)

"One Nation Under Awed Album Review"

'They Are Yakuza, You are Belfast' - or something like that anyway. One Nation Under Awed marks the somewhat delayed recording debut from one of the more interesting rock bands to emerge from alternative Ulster in a while, and what they lack in 'awe' they certainly make up for in in furious intensity.

Rock-pop opener 'Thackery' wastes no time in cranking up the energy levels, but it's one of the albums more immediate moments, and from there they head down obscure rock alleyways. Songs like 'Miguel' are not the usual quiet verse/loud chorus (catchy choruses are decidedly thin on the ground) dynamic; instead the music is peppered with barely controlled bursts of aggression howling with shades of Cobain and almost comically dark lyrics dealing in death and hate.

But the impressive volume of their post-hardcore/grunge noise is tempered with subtle melody and there's a whole host of shades and styles on view here. Yakuza's music can be both body-lurching and brain exercising, even if some of the riffs prove hard to digest. The attempts at mashing rhythms and moods highlight the influence of Sonic Youth, but for the most part Oner Nation Under Awed is still more intelligent 'gut-rock' than 'art-rock'.

And despite this overall dark mood, they're no simple hate monkeys, as evidenced by the shades of Mogwai instrumental closer 'Murder At Murder Point' which even goes so far as to employ a xylophone. Moody Stuff. - Maurice O'Brien (Hotpress Magazine)


Everyone Thinks I'm A Dinosaur 7" Single Pet Piranha Records Sept 2002

One Nation Under Awed Album Nova Records May 2004



Yakuza - Some Interesting Facts

David McCann - Guitar + Vocals
Ronan Quinn - Guitar + Vocals
Philip McKernan - Bass
James McDonald - Drums

Formed: Coalisland Co. Tyrone August 1997 for the purpose of having fun and writing songs. Yakuza is a band that concern themselves above all else, with writing solid, enticing, danceable songs


Everyone Thinks I'm A Dinosaur 7" Single Pet Piranha Records Sept 2002
One Nation Under Awed Album Nova Records May 2004


New full length album recorded at Jackpot! Studios Portland Oregon (Elliot Smith/Pavement/The Gossip) with Dubh David Black (Muhoney/REM/Cornershop)


Ireland - Sept 2000 / May 2002
UK - Aug 2003 / May 2004 / Nov 2004 / Oct 2005
Italy - Sept 2001

Played with:

The Undertones / Therapy? / Liars / Oxes / Jetplane Landing / The Devastations / Gold Blade / Electric Eel Shock / Blood Red Shoes / Dead Meadow


REM / Joy Division / Pavement / The Pixies / Dinosaur Jr / The Minutemen / Johnny Cash / Sonic Youth / David Bowie / The Ramones / The Jesus Lizard / Nirvana


Top 50 Albums of 2004 for One Nation Under Awed - Alternative Ulster Magazine

40 Hottest Bands in Ireland List 2007 - Alternative Ulster Magazine

Spiritual nirvana by way of the riff - The Irish News

Mixing up jon spencer, sonic youth and the full on might of the wedding present, one of the finer indie rock noisemakers around the country at the moment - roadrecords.com

Raised on an unsteady diet of The Birthday Party, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and Truman's Water, these twisted mid-Ulster hallions have an amazing batch of new songs which take the electric white boy blues of debut album One Nation Under Awed to a seedy post-punk disco before locking them in and burning the b*stard to the ground. They'll take your face off and enjoy themselves doing it. - The Irish News