Sunday 26 October 2014

Lo-Pan - Colossus (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 07/10/2014
Label: Small Stone Recordings

"Colossus" CD/DD/LP track listing:

1. Regulus (05:01)
2. Land Of The Blind (03:10)
3. Black Top Revelation (04:01)
4. Marathon Man (06:39)
5. N.P.D. (02:27)
6. Colossus (03:47)
7. Vox (04:22)
8. Eastern Seas (05:55)
9. Relo (02:28)
10. The Duke (04:23)

The Band:

Jeff Martin | Vocals
J. Bartz | Drums
Skot Thompson | Bass
Brian Fristoe | Guitar


This week we take a look at Lo-Pan, a band from the Buckeye State who currently reside in the warm, fuzzy home of Smallstone Records. Similar to their housemates Five Horse Johnson, Gozu and Sasquatch, Lo-Pan is a rock band that boasts a guitar tone that’s like a good BBQ sauce; thick, dark, flavorful, and the perfect compliment to meat. Their brand of rock has been marinating in this sauce for a number of years now, so your coals better be piping hot because with their new album, “Colossus,” Lo-Pan is bringing out the thickest, juiciest, slab of ribs for the grill.

The album opener, “Regulus,” is a slow roll and a good start. There aren’t too many bells and whistles here but as a call to arms, it works. Martin closes out the song singing “still blinded by the light of the sun” but rather than giving you time to think about what he might mean, “Colossus” immediately busts out a one, two, three punch with the next songs.

Like a bat out of hell, “Land of the Blind” starts, picking up the album’s pace with a smooth groovy sing-a-long. There you are, standing around the grill cooking your ribs, using your tongs as a microphone as you and your friends chant along with Martin’s demand to “throw the pages on the bonfire.” So now you’re feeling good, someone made a beer call and “Black Top Revelation” just started. Here Fristoe takes center stage with one of the tastiest riffs of 2014. It kicks, it clicks, it’s got your mouth watering; then Martin sings “I’ve been high enough to call me planetary,” which sounds like a good idea, so its time to pile into the van and roll one up.

It’s no coincidence then that the next cut, “Marathon Man,” starts with a purring motor and, at just under seven minutes is the longest song on the album. Afterall, you have to take your time for these kinds of shenanigans.  The song has a bouncy groove, heads are bobbing, and again Martin sails atop the mix with another set of lyrics that everyone can get on board with: “the deck is stacked against you, its time to take a stand…rise up and make demands!” Hell yeah.

Speaking of demands, those ribs need to be turned so back to the party we go. That’s when “N.P.D.,” a quick two minute ass kicker, signifies the start of a race. If the song finishes before the ribs have been flipped then the grill has lost too much heat. Luckily that’s not the case; there should even be time to baste the underside of the ribs. In the meantime someone’s gone inside to flip the record so we can experience the underside of that, too.

By means of the classic call and response, the album’s title track begins. The folks at the party are nodding their heads in approval while you once again grab your tong-microphone to sing along with Martin; “you’ll find no solace living your religious life of sin…so take cover, you know you can’t save them all.” And you know what, he’s right, we can’t save those who didn’t show up for these ribs, so more for us.

With the next couple of cuts Lo-Pan continues to bring the rock. Those who know the band have asked if this was the new album while those who don’t know Lo-Pan have asked to go home with a copy. Now the ribs are ready, the table is set, and look, someone even brought a salad. As you sit down to eat, its apparent that Lo-Pan has made a very appropriate album for a backyard BBQ party. The sequencing is great, the tone is tasty, the rhythm section is in the pocket and not only can Martin sing, he’s got the lyrics to back that voice up. When BBQ season comes around next year, I won’t be forgetting about “Colossus,” I hope you don’t either.

Words by: Victor van Ommen

You can pick up a copy here


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