Lo-Pan continues to find new ways forward on five-song 'In Tensions' EP.

Lo-Pan continues to find new ways forward on five-song ‘In Tensions' EP.

A pox on scientists and inventors who have yet to develop the cloning technology that would allow me to be both at Skully's (for Alive's annual Bands to Watch showcase) and at the Big Room Bar for Lo-Pan's EP release show, which also takes place Saturday, Jan. 28, and features a heavyweight lineup of its own, with Bridesmaid, Beggars and EYE rounding out the evening.

Lo-Pan's most recent EP, In Tensions — the cause for celebration here — could have alternately been titled In Flux, since it documents the point in time when Brujas del Sol guitarist Adrian Zambrano joined the fray, stepping in for departed guitarist Brian Fristoe. (Zambrano has since been replaced by Chris Thompson.) Even so, the music remains concrete-solid, built on the blast-shield battery of drummer Jesse Bartz and bassist Skot Thompson and the vocals of singer Jeff Martin, who positions himself in the rear during the band's concerts but spends a bulk of the EP's five tracks soaring above the fray. Witness “Alexis,” where his voice dips and dives, floating above the molten, sulfuric surface like the giant eagles over Mordor.

Lyrically, there are numerous mentions of finding new means forward, growing and changing. “I need another way … to find my way,” Martin sings on “Pathfinder,” a gleaming, melodic, shapeshifter of a tune that manages to hint at the group's hard-rock roots while simultaneously sprouting elaborate new branches. Best follow along.