This may be my favorite Denver band. Am I allowed to say that in a Denver-based music magazine?
badpenny, for those who haven’t had the pleasure, are Sean Bryant on drums, Dave Womer on guitar, and the fabulous Ms. Sandeigh Barrett on bass and vocals. And really, her Corin Tucker-meets-Patsy Cline vocals are what it’s all about. Her voice heats you up like a hot toddy, with equal parts whiskey and honey and just a splash of lemon-acid.
Sure, the gritty guitar has plenty of punk-rock fuzz or country twang depending on the mood of the song, and the laid-back drums help set the mood, but it’s all about the girl up-front. She’s sarcastic but sincere, country and rock all at once. The record’s themes run heavily toward the breakup end of the relationship spectrum, but even when she’s singing about her “throat getting tighter,” her words make me think that she’s never let him see her cry, just turned on her heel and slammed the car door in his face.
I suppose I’d call them alt-country for lack of a better word, or maybe to paraphrase Lucero’s Ben Nichols and say “western indie rock.” It’s cowboy-booted, beer-drinkin’, jukebox rock’n’roll that you don’t have to be heartbroken to enjoy, but it might give you a boost if you are. Lest I overhype the twangier side of things, I’ll also note the echoes of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane” in “Lazarus,” and the sexy sleaze of “Underbelly,” where Sandeigh hisses, “take it all, I want you to.”
Congratulations, badpenny. You’ve made me wish I still lived in Denver.