|Lo-Pan - 'Salvador' (Small Stone Records)|
|Written by Jason Daniel Baker|
|Saturday, 12 March 2011 05:00|
It is an album that has gotten considerable praise from a lot of quarters across the globe; In my own case as I am getting to hear it later than some, I can only confirm what a lot of music reviewers have already said.
'Salvador', the third album released by Ohio band Lo-Pan is just pure, sugar-sweet rock 'n' roll of a timeless quality that, from start to finish, caters to the delights of hard rock music lovers. From the opening chords of the first track 'El Dorado' I kept saying over and over "That's the stuff, gimme more!" and the CD kept doing just that up until the final track ended.
A tune like 'Bleeding Out' is of a kind that has anchored FM radio for four decades and made a lot of guys want to drive cars really fast. There have been moments when I wondered if the appeal of the classic hard rock I grew up with could be reproduced properly. In my naivete it never occured to me that record companies might want to push something different upon consumers or that bands might want to play something different.
Tracks like 'Bird Of Prey' and 'Struck Match' have all the subtle touches of a work of musical genius and a band equal to the boldness of their approach to composition and recording. But there is no substitute for a singer who can actually sing and Lo-Pan vocalist Jeff Martin (not to be confused with American drummer Jeff Martin or the Tea Party frontman of the same name) is a uniquely gifted performer with a fantastic melodic voice.
Brian Fristoe's guitar work features some beautifully inventive solos. The rhythm section of J. Bartz on drums and Skot Thompson on bass slidly add depth to the sound. This is a band with obvious chemistry and they groove together with a sound that is of high technical proficiency but has a natural feel to it.
As I've said before about other things there are moments of immense satisfaction in any enjoyment of an art form which are so unforgettable that they make you want to keep looking for the next one no matter how long it may take and however many inferior works you might have to experience in between. 'Salvador' by Lo-Pan is one of those rewarding productions that re-energizes one's love for rock 'n' roll.
If you want to draw comparisons this is another of those bands whose sound brings many very well-known, chart topping artists to mind but the names of the great bands they evoke are far too numerous to mention. Lo-Pan describes their genre as being a cross between classic rock, crunk and psychedelic.
While I am generally the last one to pay much attention to packaging when it comes to bands and their CDs I can tell you that very few bands out there have a name as bland (Lo-Pan!? Sounds like a camera angle). I can also tell you that the album cover they chose for 'Salvador' is one of the most obtuse and brain-dead covers I have ever seen.
Is it their idea of putting the music first? At least nobody can call it blatantly commercial. But I can't believe the guys who composed this music would choose such an insipidly dull cover to go with it.