M.Krebs - Peggy Lee (Album Review)

M.Krebs are an alternative rock band composed of Spencer Moody, Brian Yeager, and Jeff Alvarez. While the trio has just released their debut album, the inebriating and insightful Peggy Lee, their CV is full of chops, with members having played in groups such as Triumph Of Lethargy Skinned Alive To Death, Smoke, and Smoke, and Medicine Bows. Recorded in Seattle, Washington, and N.Kohala, Hawaii, the album has both the gritty danger of a big city via post-punk vocal deliveries and the more languid pace of island life via careful bass, piano keys, and guitar playing. 

One of the highlights is the title track, which, despite its profanity, possesses the sexual swagger, psychedelic patience, and mystique of The Doors. Likewise, "BB Jane" reaches similar levels of "woah-man" energy, however, forced, with the relentless intensity of the vocals and drums offset by smooth and sedative bass and guitars. Not all songs feature drums, though. "Middle Ground" finds itself firmly middle-of-the-road as it attempts to pull off some sincere piano balladry, a pleasant track, if not undercooked. "Howie Died" is somewhat difficult to listen to; both its sound and playing are cheese-grater rough. "Desperate Measures Man" is also quite morose, though "You Were Just Being Cruel" is a raucous album highlight driven with conviction and with some of the album's most imagistic lyrics ("I'm gonna even out this burn").

Elsewhere, the cool strut of "Walk The Ocean Floor" and "Eyes in The Back of Her Head" with their repetitive basslines, mysterious guitar feedback, and sneering jibes of Beefheartesque punk poet intensity, and workhorse drums that keep everything in place. The pretty neoclassical introduction for "Tim Hardin" is somewhat vitiated by the crass vocals, but eventually, the group becomes even more unhinged, with drums played a la Animal from Sesame Street. When everything simmers, the softness and acidity become tastefully balanced. 

Even though it can get quite dark, Peggy Lee by M.Krebs features performative vocals, a slowly atmospheric brand of alt-rock, and equal measures of mischief and prudence. Its more stabilized songs are highly impactful, while other moments reveal comfort levels of expressionism the group seems willing to settle for. Either way, it's sonically enjoyable, though the expressive nature of this album is the real treat.