Reviews for [RL16]
Yes Sensei "We Who Transplant Sustain"
- Skratch Magazine April 2004
"Take the funky hardcore of The Minutemen and add some escapist sonicness, and you got Yes Sensei (bitchin' name). The personality of WE WHO TRANSPLANT, SUSTAIN can be summed up in the first three tracks' titles: "Russian or Retarded", "Progress Is Dead", and "Right Shirt, Wrong Band". Very much like The Minutemen. It stands apart. Yes Sensei don't come across like posers, they're just rockin' the funky hardcore. Very well. This album will get a party started with lots and lots of cool-as-hell moments. The jammy aspects come wrapped weirdly, instead of some hippie blues spawning. It has more to do with Pink Floyd and jazz than Phish. Cool weirdo jams." -H. Barry Zimmerman
- Impact Press April/May 2004
"When first entering the dojo of Yes Sensei, I was struck in the mouth by noisy disorienting rock and then, just moments later, I was kicked in the nards by their blatant disregard for song structure. When I finally recovered from this ass beating, I realized that these guys reminded me of Jesus Lizard with a hint of punk rock and roll. I strongly recommend these Long Island ass kickers for your next big showdown. No Mercy!" -(RP)
- Dirt Culture June 2004
"Last issue (when I reviewed their last album, What I Do Best is What I Do Worst), I told these guys to keep practicing. Well, they did, or else I'm not as crotchety today, because this sounds pretty cool. It's definitely not for everybody-wanky, off kilter indie rock. They seem to have pulled it all together, though, into a fairly coherent album, and the free jazz elements are incorporated pretty tastefully. "Progress is Dead" reminds me of a heavier and better Modest Mouse. If you like stuff like Q and Not U, you might give this a listen." -Dee Snarl
- Wonkavision #25
"What the hell? That's the thought that ran through my head after listening to the first track on this record. This is a really weird record. The recording, the art, the songs, everything is weird. The instruments are up front in the mix and sound great, but the vocals sound like the guys is down a hallway from the mike and they are often so low that you can't hear them over the music. Everything about it is weird. This band is obviously a rock band but they also use some non-traditional rock instruments like cello, violin and glockenspiel. It's actually really cool that they use these instruments and the guitar work is also extremely interesting. I really like this record a lot but I have no idea who to compare it to. This band is something new and interesting. I suggest that you find some mp3s and check this band out."
- All Night Eatery 12/05
"There is something delightfully sloppy about the first thirty seconds of this album. The intricate guitar and bass match up sounds like a drunken interpretation of Cave In songs. The pace quickly picks up and is driven by a distant yelling (when I say distant I don’t mean in the background… It just sounds like he is probably a few feet away from the microphone). “Russian or Retarded” drives forward with catchy build ups that lack unfortunate let downs. A cowbell quickly launches you into “Progress is Dead” and a complicated rhythmic pattern that sounds more suited for a jazz club. Musically, this is my favorite track.
“Oscillating Three Speed” and “Go Freedom Go!” continue the theme of strong musical talent. They don’t let their artistic vision (which sufficiently overflows) get in the way of making good music that refuses to be captured within genre titles. Though Yes Sensei has a tendency to take a break from the confines of commonly perceived music (and by that, I mean that they wander down a dark path and into the misunderstood forest of noise rock), they don’t get caught in pretentious traps of self-glorification.
Throughout the album the vocals can be compared to the styles of Bear vs. Shark, Jello Biafra, and the aforementioned Cave-In. However, Mike Andriani has enough of his own artistic vision to keep from falling into any generalities. “The Wave in the Nod” brings the album to a close. It encompasses both passive and aggressive traits during its thirteen minute duration. However, the last three or four minutes drift off somewhere into a repetitive musical haze. This is a musically and artistically strong record. They have a very tight-yet-unrefined sound that could potentially boost their popularity in the underground community. 7.5/10"-Thomas Irby
- Long Island Press 2004
Nevermind the vocals. Long Island’s Yes Sensei brings on the noise, whether it’s controlled or uncontrolled. The lyrics sometimes take a backseat to the commotion so much that it sounds like guitarist Mike Andriani is at one point just bawling "blah blah blah," followed by some "yeahs." Maybe that allows him to focus on getting his guitar to squeal. But this follow-up to the disorderly What I Do Best is What I Do Worst isn’t just guitar havoc (the other six-stringer is new addition Adam Vargas). There’s Mike Parrish’s grumbling basslines and David Elliot’s wild, tempo-defiant percussion which includes a cowbell (!). It creates full, roundhouse-kicking noise-rock that follows the groundwork by Sonic Youth, Slint and Shellac. An exception lies in "Introducing Mr. No Frills," which takes hold of avant-garde with a five-minute improv of trumpet, glockenspiel, trombone and piano. Still, We Who Transplant, Sustain (a title adapted from the Connecticut state motto) shouldn’t have its lyrics completely overlooked. The 12-minute closer features an anti-spoken-word by Elliot that lays down the law about growing up. It all ends with a marching rhythm section and guitar feedback. Yes sir! ---Kenyon Hopkin
- Verbicide Winter 2006
Great name. I like this band quite a lot. Angular guitars, sledgehammer
drumming — a kind of Minutemen meets Shellac. There are even a few stabs at
what we might term “free jazz freakouts.” They aren’t always quite there
musically speaking, but it ain’t for lack of trying. It is an adventurous
sound and I admire that. These days everyone is looking for the formula, and
there’s a freshness to We Who Transplant. My faves include “Russian or
Retarded,” “Introducing Mr. No Frills,” and “The Wave and the Nod.” I hope
these guys can keep it together — they could be something special. (Mark
- Screaming Bloody Mess.com February 2006
This is quirky/arty rock that is still a whole lot of fun, "Progress is Dead" actually has real life ‘hoopin and hollerin’ on it while the low end grumble of ‘Right Shirt, Wrong Band’ brings to mind the testicles of the Jesus Lizard at their sweatiest. The music its actually similar to the sound that a lot of Japanese bands are doing now that they have abandoned the all out ferociousness of thrash. Odd time signatures, off kilter rhythms and random weirdness in the vocal/screaming department. Different but in a good way.