You don’t see a lot of bands with their own theme songs these days. Time was, Black Sabbath introduced themselves with a spooky dirge called “Black Sabbath,” Bad Company peddled a slow-burning anthem called “Bad Company,” and Iron Maiden ended their sets with the satanic braggadocio of “Iron Maiden.” That sort of showboating might seem gaudy among today’s more tasteful rockers, but Being Dead have an old-fashioned knack for self-mythologizing. The core members, best friends and songwriting partners, call themselves Falcon Bitch and Gumball and alternately claim to have met as coworkers at Cinnabon or chimney sweeps in the 1700s. Their long-gestating first album, When Horses Would Run, delivers a cheery singalong three-quarters of the way through: “We are Being Dead,” they sing in harmony, teeing up solos like giddy children. “We’re having a good time/We hope you’re having a good time, too!”

Steeped in the careening energy of surf-rock and mid-’60s Jazzmaster tones but open to any stylistic fancy that crosses Falcon Bitch and Gumball’s radar, When Horses Would Run is an unusually raucous and idea-stuffed debut. Its songs burrow into fantasies of warped Americana: a hippie cult that worships trees (“Treeland”) or a languid suburban satire (“Misery Lane”). Their theme song, “We Are Being Dead,” is the simplest thing here, but it’s reflective of the overarching sense of two weirdos ushering you into their own private world.

Not that it’s been entirely private. Being Dead have spent years amassing a live following in Austin and trolling interviewers. When Horses Would Run showcases the confidence of a band that’s already worked out their kinks onstage. Falcon Bitch and Gumball swap instruments often and share lead vocals on nearly every track. Songs thrillingly morph midway through. The shoplifting fantasy “Muriel’s Big Day Off” abruptly segues from rollicking acid-pop harmonies to a smoky jazz-pop interval and back. “Treeland” downshifts into a woozy call-and-response breakdown where the bandmates brainstorm sacrificial offerings for trees, then explode into Sung Tongs-like banshee shrieks. The idiosyncrasies of the pair’s friendship bring an endearing quality to the ad-libs and bits of studio chatter.

Because of the comradery, and their tendencies to swap inside jokes and value humor over stuffy self-pity, Being Dead may invite comparisons to Wet Leg. But their sensibility is less sardonic and more absurdist. Quintessential American themes dominate their writing: Western violence, religious evangelism (the a cappella goof “God vs Bible,” the cryptic “Holy Team”), consumerism (“Misery Lane”), acid trips (“Daydream”). It’s all filtered through a kaleidoscope of styles and vocal approaches that are almost perverse in their jolliness.

If Being Dead have a signature sound, it’s anchored in the sun-kissed harmonies and high-octane riffage of surf rock. There was darkness and menace in surf music long before Tarantino foregrounded it in Pulp Fiction, and Being Dead tease out the genre’s violent, disturbed underbelly. “Last Living Buffalo” is a deceptively jaunty lament for the last buffalo on the range snuffed out by hunters. “I see a buffalo lying dead on the floor,” Falcon Bitch sings, assessing the capitalist greed and cruelty that ran rampant in the American West. The climax is a doomy shriek of rage: “You killed them!” the two bellow over a noise explosion. As the song reverts to its buoyant guitar line, the scene becomes just another casualty in a gory, grim history, one that these songwriters have learned to survey with a smirk.

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Being Dead: When Horses Would Run