Brooklyn based dreampop duo Surf Rock is Dead are Kevin Pariso and Joel Witenberg. The duo have spent the last two years experimenting in order to produce a quality kind of neo-jangle/surf/ dreampop similar to that of DIIV, Day Wave, Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing. However, what sets them apart from those bands, is that influences from 80’s new-wave and early 90’s shoegaze are much more prominent here, and that they barely make use of any electronic adornments apart from guitar pedals.
“In Between“really blew me away upon first hearing! It perfectly hits those piercing, chorus-drenched, static waves that were most definitely Slowdive’s trademark at the start of the 90’s, but adds a new-wave bass and a nice steady surf-beat to it. “As if” was released as a single last August, and is a Shoegaze meets BeachBoys kinda tune, where the faraway surf twang is melded with reverberated guitar cathedrals and layered sunshine harmonies.
“Everything They Said” starts off on solid new-wave ground reminding me of The Sound’s “Winning“; quickens with guitar-lines that seem to come straight out of Adorable‘s “I’ll be Your Saint” and comprises vocals that are slightly reminiscent of Revolver (Mat Flint). This is probably me getting old, but also highly characteristic of the hybrid/ recycle nature in contemporary music . But hey, the song does end with some dabs of electro and modish cooing! Talking of which, “White Salsa”also has that anthemic type of chorus that gives it an unmistakable “now-sound”- despite drawing heavily from past influences – , and probably makes it an indie-discohit , but I am not too keen on this formulaic side of things to be honest.
“Fitting the Mold”opens with some mellow harmonies (“Command; Control; Don’t speak; So slow; Wake up; Don’t stop, Ignore the Clock”) and then “damn here’s that Adorable guitar again!”, before swooping into Slowdive mode again(“Catch the Breeze“) and then at 2:08 something magical happens! This is where the heavens open and “Surf Rock is Dead” become their own lovely self and leave an imprint and taste for more. Wonderful! I hope to see much, much more of that side in the near future….
“We Have No Friends?’ was released October 6th on both vinyl, and digital formats. Vinyl versions include their debut ‘SRiD’ EP on the b-side.