Hard-hitting Lo-Pan brings Colossus to Ace of Cups

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

The title of Colossus, the latest from hard-hitting local quartet Lo-Pan, was inspired, in part, by the Colossus of Rhodes, a 98-foot-tall statue erected in 280 BC to honor the Greek sun god Helios.

Rather than drawing religious significance from the construction of the monument, dubbed one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Lo-Pan singer Jeff Martin said the undertaking came to represent the ability of human will to overcome even seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

"To me, [the Colossus of Rhodes] has always been a real symbol of human endeavor as opposed to religious endeavor," he said in a June interview at a Clintonville bar. "I don't think I started out to write that way, but all [the songs on Colossus] ended up being about … moving past something, and doing it myself with my own wits and my own facilities."

In a recent email exchange, Martin reiterated the album's 10 tracks, which were sketched out over the past two years before being laid to tape at Coney Island's Translator Audio with producer Andrew Schneider this past April, are rooted in a difficult personal stretch that required similar resolve to navigate.

"I'd prefer not to air my personal problems overtly in an interview," wrote the singer, who joins bandmates Jesse Bartz (drums), Scott Thompson (bass) and Brian Fristoe (guitar) for a record release show at Ace of Cups on Friday, Oct. 17. "But I think it's enough to say that I am in a better place today than I have ever been as a result of sheer tyranny of will."

The album, in turn, arrives littered with references to rebirth and of moving on from the past, with Martin singing of burned pages and a great phoenix rising from ash atop a towering mountain. The music is similarly epic, the four bandmates constructing songs that alternately swing like a wrecking ball (the crunchy, crushing "Black Top Revelation") and race untouched down city streets (the relentlessly propulsive "Marathon Man," a driving tune of the highest order). "You're running away," wails Martin on the latter, as the guitars accelerate to keep pace.

But even in those moments the singer's words suggest a developing loner mentality - Martin said the album's title track touches on the concept he can "only find true comfort in [himself]" - the music serves to remind all of the group's collective power, the bandmates curling together as naturally as fingers into a fist.

"I think the individualistic attitude I have is in regards to things outside the band," Martin said. "Within the band there isn't much that gets done alone."

Ace of Cups

9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17

2619 N. High St., Campus


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