On “Total Restraint,” the debut album by D.C. quartet Tosser, lyrics like “Staring at a wall and I can see my breath / You see my mind’s a mess” and “Heal myself with another excuse / Can’t taste what I smell” seem to speak to the malaise and psychosomaticism of life in the time of coronavirus. Similarly, the band’s guitar-powered songs sound like audio attacks aimed at breaking down the walls of homebound claustrophobia.

Yet “Total Restraint” was released about three weeks before the pandemic fully took hold in the U.S., making the album less predictive of what was to come and more descriptive of underlying issues that would soon be exposed and exacerbated by the virus.

“Everything is in a different context now,” singer-guitarist Eric Zidar said. “A lot of the lyrics are about discomfort in your own mental capacity, whether or not that’s something you lay out there.”

Added bassist Ryan Plummer, “A lot of people are able to avoid those things by being busy, and the pandemic forced them to address those things.”

“Total Restraint” faces that uneasy sense of disconnection and discombobulation head on, as the band’s four members sync their energies to focus on one point of attack, or dissociate to make a broader one. With a punishing mix of blistering riffs and gut-rumbling rhythms, the album submerges the pop sensibilities of earlier releases under feedback that rings out, up and all around.

Those early Tosser EPs were largely solo affairs for Zidar, and the band’s sound and songwriting sensibilities have evolved alongside their musical tastes. This time around, the intention was something grittier, heavier and bigger that “scrubs off some of the polish,” as Zidar explained.

And while the context and perspective around the album — and everything else — has changed in the past 18 months, playing the music in concert returns the band to a sense of normalcy.

“The thing about live music is that you can transcend the situation you’re in,” Zidar said. “Once the music starts, you can forget about it for a little bit.”

“Whether or not that’s responsible,” Plummer added with a laugh.

With Teenage Halloween and Bacchae on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Pie Shop, 1339 H St. NE. pieshopdc.com. $15. Proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of the show is required for entry.

Read more: