Serve Us Tender, the L.A. quartet’s first full-length album, Surfeit of Gemütlich, unfolds as a series of interlocking rooms whose dark chambers are only occasionally lit up by Adam Brooks’ anguished vocal shrieking and squalid saxophone retorts. On such propulsive tracks as “Sister Please,” guitarist Heather Galipo unwinds menacing descending riffs and more atmospheric shadows of sound that hum and hover like quivering ghosts. The layered, psychedelic production by Paul Roessler (Screamers, Nina Hagen) adds to the sense of overall dread. Saccharine Trust guitarist Joe Baiza comes from a punk background but plays with a funky, jazzy angularity.
These days, much of what passes for modern goth and post-punk music can come off as little more than harmless nostalgia for the ancient early ’80s, but Egrets on Ergot have somehow succeeded in making it all sound genuinely disturbing and aggressively unsettling again. Building on the sinister potential of debut EP