Lo-Pan – Salvador [Small Stone]

Release Date: Out now.

Record Label: Small Stone Records.

With the release of Salvador, Lo-Pan has made the leap from an under-the-radar support act, to being one of Small Stone’s most invaluable assets.

The Columbus quartet has previously toured with established modern stoners, such as: the Atomic Bitchwax, Black Cobra, Red Fang, and many other credible bands that makes ‘70s proto-metal sound as critical now as it was then. Salvador, on the other hand, is simply a barrage of groove-orientated rock.

On the surface, it is easy to presume that Lo-Pan is yet another band looking to out-fuzz their orange amp sharing bong-rockers, however, the polished intensity of this 11-track release has widespread appeal, while also doing enough to please your average stoner – a quality that very few bands in this genre possess.

Although, they may sound like their contemporaries, Lo-Pan is a band that simply does it better. Jesse Bartz pounds out the opening, hypnotic beats of ‘El Dirado’ as Brian Fristoe’s decisive chugging introduces Jeff Martin’s soaring, yet rough-around-the-edges delivery – a soulful and melodic combination.

Like any other straight up rock band that is branded ‘stoner rock’ there is always going to be murmurs of the K-word, and the Californian’s influence is apparent during the mellow and melodic come-down of ‘Bird of Prey’, although, to be fair to the experienced quartet that is where the comparison ends, as this is a band who do things their way.

Meanwhile, ‘Chicken Itza’ flirts with hardcore skate-punk, while ‘Struck Match’ rises and falls gradually. For a band that has stayed true to their beer-stained rock ‘n’ roll roots, it is almost fitting that the album ends with the dynamic, torrid texture of ‘Solo’. Expect to see Lo-Pan headlining 2012’s Small Stone SXSW showcase. 

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