If you listen to enough contemporary, small-label punk music, it becomes very easy to identify the points of intrigue. There’s the structural simplicity. The ragged ferocity. The extreme speed and decibel levels. Nuanced and unusual lyrics, however, aren’t always at the top of that list. For better or worse, punk lyrics are often part of a self-perpetuating mythology that goes something like this: “Being punk/Oi oi oi/No one can stop us from being punk.” Hearing Detroit trio the Stools for the first time, you might think that they emerged from the very same school of punk proselytizers. But on closer inspection, their debut album R U Saved? is more sophisticated than the average manifesto. Instead, it’s crammed with hypnotic, abstract gutter poems, shouted over scrappy drums and motor-revving guitars.

The Stools formed after singer and guitarist Will Lorenz called his buddy, drummer Charles Stahl, in the frenzy of a manic episode. “We have to start a band tonight,” Lorenz told Stahl. “We have no choice.” Stahl hadn’t actually played drums before, but the two men began recording that very evening, tracking to tape on a boombox in a dingy wine cellar.

The same urgency that propelled the Stools to record the very second it occurred to them bubbles up and erupts throughout R U Saved?, their first proper full-length. The group thrashes through each of the 12 tracks, whipping themselves into a concise but electrified frenzy. Hard rock ripper “Cut Me Off” is composed of only 14 distinct words, which Lorenz barks like Stiv Bators doing chest presses with a dislodged V8 engine. The Stools love brevity, and when Lorenz splinters his vocal chords to scream “You set yourself on fire!” in the chorus, it becomes clear why some of these songs are so short. The energy the Stools expel is like squirting lighter fluid onto a campfire: The flame is high and hot, burning through the fuel in a quick flash.

R U Saved? deals in muscular, blues-bent rock riffs, dialed up to the speed of ’80s hardcore. Lorenz’s lyrics are bizarre and impressionistic, stoking the imagination with a few specific visuals. On the raucous opener “Stare Scared,” he spools out surreal lines over grimy power chords: “Bunk beds glowing gold/Like chains of pearls…Thumb burned by lamplight.” “Into the Street,” a street punk bruiser bred with ZZ Top guitar, is born of a similar disorienting, dreamlike logic. “Torpedo doors/Old cans of peas/Like little prayer cards/In the blank white heat,” Lorenz shouts.

For all his abstraction, Lorenz can also be an extremely efficient lyricist, building entire scenes with a few well-placed words. On “Pickin’ Out Glass,” the narrator collects shards “from the sidewalk cracks,” noting nearby firemen standing at attention. With two simple images, we can hear windows exploding and whiff the smoke drifting over the ruins. On “Bad Eye Bob,” a song churning to the speed of a circle pit, Lorenz introduces an oddball specter lurking around the historic Coronado apartment building in Midtown Detroit. The titular Bad Eye Bob, who stuffs his cigarettes with M-80 explosives and makes “home videos in a bathroom stall,” is either a hazardous prankster or a street art savant. The answer is never spelled out, but Bob’s seedy kingdom is strangely inviting.

R U Saved?’s best song is the romping “Buick Boogie,” which is sung by bassist Krystian Quint and rides on rockabilly guitar and bass licks dirtied up with distortion. Quint cosplays a slick, suited gangster with “drive by style.” But for all his peacocking, our tough guy chickens out when it comes to busting an actual cap: “Got my finger on the trigger baby/But you know I’m afraid to shoot/Gonna hop in my Buick/Boogie back to you,” Quint sings over Stahl’s thundering drum beat. His confession might be a jab at traditional masculinity, or a metaphor for adultery stalled by erectile dysfunction. It could simply be an excuse to scream the words “Buick” and “boogie” in quick succession. Regardless of your take, R U Saved? is teeming with abnormal imagery and creative language—a welcome subversion of the punk formula.

Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated that “Buick Boogie” is sung by Will Lorenz. It is sung by bassist Krystian Quint.