Ishly Ghost Fly Your E & Y

Chicago Reader, February 3, 2000
For Ishly Ghost Fly Your E & Y (Iota), their first release in three years and their first full-length since 1995, Chicago-gold-rush survivors Boom Hank have teamed up with producer Brian Deck on a rich journey through a dusty maze of noise, boys, and toys. Obvious debts to Sebadoh and--oddly enough--latter-day Red Red Meat notwithstanding, it's a satisfying record from a band that's taken a long time to find its voice.

Jam florida's music magazine #296, by Stefanie Kalem
This second release from Chicago's Boom Hank has actually been gestating since some time in 1998, and it sounds it. Brooding vocals, intricate guitar and percussion, and impossible layers of noise (everything from car traffic to a house fan to a bike chain) combine to make a complex ambient slice of indie rock - a great record for a cold afternoon spent inside thinking, sculpting or making love. The vocals recall a mixture of Guided By Voices' Bob Pollard (minus the British pretensions) and J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr) though the syrupy slow pace of songs like "Passing Through," "Waiting for What" and "Extinguisher Eyes" evoke the music of only the latter, and only in their "sheer" instrumental thickness. "Canvas Triplets" is a sunny, stoned masterwork, with snapping percussion, a backwards-masked chorus break, and a closing section that sounds like two very different guitars getting to know one another via pounds of skronk and fuzz, against a jazzy piano backdrop.

Chicago Tribune Online's Metromix, by Marty Behm
Always a risky venture, returning to the scene of the crime becomes even more daring when there's someone else's fingerprints there. In Boom Hank's case, their rap sheet seemed to have been written with the fairly straight ahead rock of the 1995 Brad Wood-produced album "Nuisance." Encouragingly, though, the band has allowed itself to be incriminated through Perishable Records' soundmeister Brian Deck, resulting in a scuzzily organic morning stretch of an album that recalls the work of Deck's cohorts Red Red Meat while resisting mimickry. Boom Hank keeps their guard up through "Ishly's" first track, "Warm," but the straying really starts with "Dimple" and "Waiting For What." Vocals, when recognizable, take a back seat in Boom Hank's orchestra, and if the results flirt dangerously with art-rock, so be it. The pieces really come together on "Canvas Triplets," an inspiring layering of guitar riffs, chant-like singing and percussion, while tracks like "Passing Through" and "Strung Along," seemingly aptly named at first, swell with repeated listens. "Ishly," while not entirely new for Boom Hank, is strangely refreshing.

Aiding and Abetting, March 6th, 2000
"Generally influenced by emo and noise pop, Boom Hank has this arty streak which leads it into some adventurous sounds. The songs are often not particularly viscerally appealing, relying more on an arresting intellectual reaction. And if you carry that bag as much as I do, well, Boom Hank has plenty to offer. The ramblings rarely get tedious; rather, there is a transcendent beauty which emerges as the disc plays. Skipping through will not achieve this effect. You've gotta commit. Hell, that's what music like this is all about, anyway. There are little switches in the brain that have to be turned on in a particular way, and they can't be flipped at once. But as soon as the music has zapped those synapses, well, there's no hope for recovery. Yeah, I know, you've gotta think about this stuff. If you can't hack that, then go find something else. Boom Hank has crafted a loopy little masterpiece."

Eye by, Lisa Crosby
Since 1989, Chicago band Boom Hank has produced scratchy guitar pop songs that are earthy and bluesy. Unpretentious and a little raw around the edges, Boom Hank comes off as truly genuine about their music. Reminiscent of a young Mudhoney, mellow vocals are laid over tight guitar riffs that are best when allowed to ramble off and culminate in a blistering psychedelic fuzz.

IMPACT press, April-May '00
This album is like running a marathon. It starts out fast and full of energy, and consistently slows down, until it is completely out of energy. This is not necessarily a putdown, for the CD is enjoyable. There are layers upon layers of noises ranging from bottles and cans to buckets of gravel, all hovering just loud enough to be heard but not very recognizable. Harmonies fly over lush soulful guitars to create beautiful songs.

Illinois Entertainer April 2000
"Life on the post-Nevermind ranch was obsessed with the loud/soft dynamic that helped make that record such a storied document. Unfortunately, along with that enthusiasm came a host of hacks whose imitation disguised as emulation watered down the original ideas and ultimately ushered in the death of grunge. And while Boom Hank is certainly not trying to be a flannel heir apparent, they are guilty of employing similar tactics. The fact that they somehow manage to avoid the cliches that sunk so many other pretenders is precisely what makes them contenders.
Instead of accenting said approach with polished production, the nine tracks on here are mired in a murky, underwater, cellophane vibe that adds a cavernous, mysterious environment to what are essentially straight-up pop songs. The vocals on "Warm" originate off in the distance, encouraged to approach by delicate guitar and unidentified noises until the proceedings crash violently into a non-chorus chorus then sink away as quietly as they arrived. "Passing Through" is equally impressive, basking itself in sloppy patience and a subversive, propulsive hook.
Sometimes too much ambition does tarnish the material. "Waiting For What," at just over nine minutes, overstays its welcome, while the super brief "Homemade Absynthe" offers up nothing but filler. All things considered, these are minor missteps. Like R.E.M.'s Murmur, whose aesthetic and attitude is shared by this disc, Boom Hank manage to make you listen long enough to not forget what you've heard and give you just enough to make you go back and look for what you might have missed the first time."


Illinois Entertainer, Chicago, IL.
"...Nuisance is a 12-song collection of stumbling guitar textures, stick-in-your-head melodies and buttoned-down rhythm beds. ...Cuts like 'Do You Feel Strange,' 'Gilly,' and 'Disappear' (the sluggish hook is undeniable) are succinct examples of the well-executed rock riff. The fast-slow structure of 'Downpour' aches for FM airplay, and the edgy 'Suffering Plan' benefits from a positively buoyant bassline. ...The songs on Nuisance are more aggressive live, and Mahoney's voice matches the music's ragged edge."

Rayolux, Chicago, IL.
"...Want a band completely without pretentiousness who just play honest heartfelt rock and roll? ...BOOM HANK plays fast, fun and irreverent pop music with sizeable slabs of guitar and bass. ...These guys are the musical equivalent of a beer: full-bodied, all-natural ingredients, with no watered-down taste."

Austin Chronicle, Austin, TX.
"Rootsy guitar pop featuring some [guys] who evidently have a real flair for songwriting. Their Pravda release Nuisance has enough meat on its bones to feed a family of four for at least a week, maybe longer."

Cake, Minneapolis, MN.
"...Strong songs played with passion and energy. ...This is a guitar record and a good one at that. ...It's a little bluesy, a little country, and a whole lot rock 'n' roll -- all further proof that the genre is not dead. ...They take all sorts of brawny guitars and mix them with odd little curlicues and distorted filigrees, and anchor it with a bedrock solid rhythm section. ...Perhaps the rarest thing about Nuisance is that it gets better with repeated listening as the songs burrow their way into your brain like those worms that Ricardo Montalban had in the second Star Trek movie."

huh?, Santa Monica, CA.
"...BOOM HANK's exuberant guitar pop just cured my hangover -- and for that i'm grateful. It's been a long time since's a pop album's come out with as much energy and wut as the opening 'Do You Feel Strange,' or the ode to touring 'Gilly.'" (rated 8 out of 10)

The Onion, Madison, WI.
"...BOOM HANK sound like a major-label hitmaker. ...Chunky, swollen and slightly rough around the edges."

IndieStreet, Dallas, TX.
"...I really dig BOOM HANK. Twelve tracks of tight, kick-ass guitar rock and roll. ...BOOM HANK know how to get you all riled up. ...A great band full of great songwriting skills that are very apparent on Nuisance."

Ouch!, Cincinatti, OH.
"...BOOM HANK bellies up to the same bar as latter period Mats/Huskers for a double shot of metalic buzz pop. ...Everyone of these songs manages to stick in the head long after the disc has finished."

Car Audio and Electronics,Woodland Hills, CA.
"Nuisance crackles and bristles with the same breathless, feverish energy of the Bob Stinson-era Replacements, albeit with considerably more technical proficiency. This is what indie rock sounded like before the term became a marketing category. The songs are sharp, short and cut straight to the heart of the matter, leaving little room for self- indulgence. ...Stump Mahoney and fellow axe-grinder Dave Ashdown have some sort of telepathic interplay going on; their playing meshes uneasily, the way it always does in the best guitar bands. The focused production, cuortesy of celebrated Chi-town knob twister Brad Wood, is spare and punchy. ...Nuisance is an exuberant, rockin' good time." (rated 3.5 out of 5)

Riverfront Times, St. Louis, MO.
"...Somewhat of an eclectic 'Americana' sound, pushed to the edge of its envelope. ...Ragged and unkempt guitars duke it out for your listening pleasure. ...Their music is comfortably familiar, yet somehow altogether unique. ...Just when you think you've got them all figured out, BOOM HANK will pull off a flawless tempo or key change."