By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
The passing of four calendar years since the release of their debut EP has not been lost on The Boom Boom Box. While you've been wistfully staring at your hourglass, wondering when they'd release a full-length, they've been doing, ya know, life stuff. "In the four years since the EP, there have been two marriages, three babies and two new band members," says guitarist Mike Rudnicki.
Produced last summer by the ubiquitous John Congleton, someone the band has known since he was a "wee lad," Until Your Eyes Get Used to the Darkness finally arrives as Boom Boom Box's debut LP. Rather fortuitously, Kirtland Records' Tami Thomsen heard the album on iTunes, liked it, and asked if the label could release it.
They now roll seven deep: Guitarists Rudnicki and Ean Parsons, vocalist Andrew Huffstetler, drummer Clay Stinnett, bassist Tony Hormillosa, drummer/keyboardist Jeff Ryan and multi-instrumentalist Chris Mayes. As a result, Darkness feels more fully realized than that EP, a clearer distillation of their sound. But they haven't gone avant garde or anything; that same tightly-wound punk core is still intact on songs like "The Uniform" and "Wooden Sword." Standout "Shattered" is relentless in its whir of sci-fi keys and Huffstetler's howl.
Listening to Darkness, their pedigree becomes clear: The strains of former bands Pleasant Grove, Baboon, Falkon and Pinkston all figure into their menu, but they've managed to set the table differently.
So what's up with the album cover, which shows a robot and a man who looks a bit like Ronald Reagan fighting in a boxing ring? Drummer Clay Stinnett has an explanation:
"The cover is a comment on technology's ever-increasing presence in our lives and how we are struggling to not become robots or let the robots take over. It's from an old sci-fi movie still. [The man's] not intended to look like Ronald Reagan, but I guess he kind of does. So, that's cool, because when punk was at its height in the U.S., there was a lot of anti-Reagan sentiment, and we are all on some level into punk music aesthetics and values.
"Also, the apocalyptic themes of the art pretty much sum up our music from my position behind the kit. It is pretty chaotic and kind of like being in the middle of a loud electronic tornado. I am literally struggling against machines and amplifiers while using my own body to pummel against the storm, but also maintaining its pulse like a rodeo clown on a giant six-headed bull."