This sort of highly engaging and infectious stoner-influenced hard rock is not typically my sort of thing most of the time, but it’s hard to deny how damn good Lo-Pan are at what they do. I really, really got on well with both Colossus and In Tensions, and the same can be said of new banger Subtle.
An album of songs, each one is catchy and memorable, and there are so many good hooks strewn around the release that it should probably be a health and safety hazard. I wouldn’t describe it as anthemic, however, (not most of the time anyway); as befits the album title, Lo-Pan are frequently subtler than that. This is music that is instantly gratifying, but requires time and additional spins to truly soak into your brain. As such, there’s depth and replayability here in abundance, more so than with a lot of similar bands.
This is music that’s rich and luscious, benefiting from a warm, well-rounded sound and from the gorgeous vocals of the singer. The band’s stoner influences enrich the songwriting, but the band are not restricted by this as many stoner bands appear to be. Lo-Pan have a wider range than that of generic stoner rock, and traditional hard rock and grunge are just two such examples I can hear in places.
Okay, I’ll say it; this is Lo-Pan’s best album, (that I’ve heard). High quality, highly enjoyable, and effortlessly pleasing, Subtle is a keeper.