Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Yohimbe Brothers

  • Front End Lifter [Ropeadope, 2002] A-
  • The Tao of Yo [Thirsty Ear, 2004] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Front End Lifter [Ropeadope, 2002]
Wailing and wah-wahing and noisemaking atop a usually bass-enhanced pulse (Doug Wimbish is a close personal friend), Vernon Reid's avant-gardisms prove a wilder and more inventive foil to DJ Logic's grooves and samples than Casey Benjamin's modal funk saxophone, which symbolizes jazz all over Logic's own Anomaly. The Yohimbes' groove never falls beneath the standard of good drum'n'bass/trip-hop/whatchamacallit, and often rises well above it. Nigerian club icon Wunmi takes over one track. On another, Slick Rick and Greg Tate trade raps even up. A-

The Tao of Yo [Thirsty Ear, 2004]
Where the debut emulated drum'n'bass, this time their avant-funk puts its sonics across by spacing out four compelling vocals: Chuck D stand-in Traz's "More From Life" ("economic equality"), Flavor Flav stand-in Bos Omega's "TV" ("and a big old chair"), Rubén Blades stand-in Ricky Quinones's "No Pistolas" ("Si tu quieres bailar/Si tu quieres gozar/Es bien, pero . . ."), and Bobby McFerrin stand-in Taylor McFerrin's "Words They Choose" (he's worried, unhappy). In the new millennium, you see, we use liberal politics to sell music. It has that aura of the forbidden. A-