The Winking Badge
“I want you to hold me / Like a big tube of toothpaste / And squeeze out everything I have to offer,” Brock Ginther sings, smack dab in the middle of his new band’s debut LP. It’s an apt visual. Because although The Winking Badge is a mere 27 minutes long, it’s stuffed – with syllables, moods, accents, tempo shifts, and every genre within a square mile of middle-of-the-road indie rock. “Urgent Opening” is just that, a seething Sex Pistols sea shanty that makes for an arresting track one. Ginther (a guitarist who also plays with Galen Richmond and others in Lemon Pitch), together with ex-Whale Oil bassist McCrae Hathaway and drummer Brian Saxton, then slams the brakes, hangs a hard left and takes off into hooky glam-rock territory with “Puppy Dreams.” The threesome eventually falls back to the speed limit on the croony ballad “Tomorrow’s Eyes,” then aims straight for the cornfield on the country-rock goofs “Sassahoma” and “Idiot Allies.” It’s all tied together by the chemistry of these musicians, who remain in sync through each of these free-wheeling shifts, and by Ginther’s pen, which produces lyrics as off-handedly clever as any songwriter ’round these parts. “Well the bad guys came and took away your Nintendo,” he drawls. It’s a little bit silly, and completely unforgettable.