On “Immaculate,” Surf Rock is Dead tries to find comfort in each other—and in the moment—as the world spins out of control around them.
The polar ice caps are melting, the Amazon is shrinking, we’re in the middle of global pandemic, and billionaires are focusing their efforts off-planet as if this one has run its course. For those of us born into these conditions, decay has simply become another part of life. If uncertainty characterizes every moment, Surf Rock is Dead are trying to find steady footing together in a crumbling world with “Immaculate.”
The track—premiering below on AdHoc—sees the surf-gaze duo maintain their bright sound with chirping synths and rolling drums, but affect the same moodiness of walking along the beach in the middle of winter. Reminiscent of “I Melt With You” by Modern English, “Immaculate” is a bleaker take on the end of days that sees Kevin Pariso and Joel Witenberg—the New York-based duo behind the project—wrestle with whether or not they can change the world around them. Questions like “Is it really in our hands?” and “Do you feel the same? / Who is there to blame?” try to assign responsibility for how chaotic the world has gotten, but ultimately feel unsatisfying. Life may be a series of decisions, but the ones that have the most impact in your own life aren’t made by you.
Rather, as both Surf Rock is Dead and Modern English surmise, the only thing we can control is the present moment and how we spend it (“The one thing free from decay / This moment”). And while “Immaculate” is an introspective addition to the duo’s catalogue, it also hones in on the importance of our relationships with other people. When all else falls away, all we have is each other and the present moment—how we choose to spend our last moments with each other in a hypothetical, yet shockingly resonant, doomsday situation defines us.
“We absolutely have control to a certain degree in our own lives but when there’s a meltdown of society and its institutions there’s only so much one person can do,” Surf Rock is Dead told AdHoc over email. “The main idea behind “Immaculate” is that we all are on a slow and steady decline, but the moments along the way are free from that tyranny of deterioration.”
The song is the latest from Surf Rock is Dead’s self-released debut album, Existential Playboy, which will be out May 1.