PLAYING DETROIT: Psych Rockers Dr. Wolf Learn to Shapeshift On Debut Single

COLUMNS|Playing Detroit

Henry Johns and Nick Sapounas represent a new Detroit psych-rock band stepping out on the scene, Dr. Wolf. Though the two longtime friends and collaborators come from different musical backgrounds – Sapounas previously in the acoustic-folk group gray/bliss and Johns from Warehouse – they come together in an amalgamation of musical knowledge that explodes into medicine for the ears.

The duo is starting off strong with their release of two singles, “Came So Easy” and “Acceptance.” “Came So Easy” is a cascading and dark meditation that showcases the band’s ability to seamlessly combine psych guitars with warbly synths. The unexpected mix results in a trance-like reflection that takes the listener on a six-minute journey into the mind of its creators. The most intelligible lyrics, “Wasting all my time,” may be a nod to an unsuccessful love affair, shitty job, or stranger who won’t stop talking to you at the grocery store. It doesn’t really matter; by the song’s soaring guitar outro, time feels like an illusion rather than something that can be wasted at all.

“Acceptance” continues that otherworldly vibe, and shows a completely different side of the band. With aqueous synths and a deep drum-machine heartbeat, the song feels like tapping into a satellite and hearing an interstellar exchange. The implications within the song title – a certain resignation, perhaps – play out in the melody’s stoic, gradually oscillating pace. With such a divergent pair of singles, it’s hard to tell what musical direction Dr. Wolf will take as the project grows. But it’s obvious Dr. Wolf is going places. 

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