Macula Dog, the ever-evolving project of two NYC-based musicians who don't claim that title, is the kind of band that makes you forget that pop music is alive and well. It supplants the idea that the marriage of a 4/4 time signature and discernible lyrics are what make for agreeable music. Instead, you should consider the sound of your brain being replaced by a computer in real time.
After a full album's listen, you realize that the portal you've entered is not the rest of the world and that vocals are often composed of a series of pleasing notes and consistent sound. Just what is this? Jazz? It's electronic. I wouldn't classify it as danceable unless a fifteen-minute flail on the floor is your signature move. In which case, knock yourself out. The sound is, to put it bluntly, punk rock. It's possible to create an impeccably produced album these days with newfangled technology. But just because you can perfect a record doesn't mean you should. There's certainly tinkering going on for the studio albums, but for a live, flesh and blood performance? Those vocals are live! That's a real person hitting a drum pad and another human being pounding the keys. The hiccups are part of the overall sound. Every day we hear that AI is going to replace us. But no one's asking — should humans make computer music?
And if you liked the sound of that, or didn't, but found it compelling enough to click on another link, watch their videos. At present, the live act features the duo in all-white padding with a marching band chest piece to hold their respective instruments out in front of them, and in front of the synthesizers are circular screens. From there, a metal camera arm reaches over from their backs and films their faces, which are then projected onto their chest-mounted screens. And then there are the leg chairs. "The chairs happened because our equipment was too heavy," they explained. They can move around in the audience freely. "We thought it'd be nice to sit down and take a break, but not on stage."
Devo fans will enjoy Macula Dog but not find it derivative. Here's their most Devo-like number: