Lo-Pro Self Titled
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If you haven't read the press already, Lo-Pro is a five-piece hard rock act featuring members from Ultraspank (vocalist Pete Murray and guitarist Neil Godfrey), Godsmack (drummer Tommy Stewart), Amen and Snot (bassist Jon Fahnestock), along with guitarist Pete Ricci. Their debut album is the first to appear on Aaron Lewis' (Staind) new label, 413 Records. As a longtime fan of Ultraspank and Pete Murray's awesome vocals, I was sure that this album would have great harmony without even having to put it in my CD player.

And, sure enough, Lo-Pro features strong harmonic vocals with some solid, moderately paced hard rock music. The music isn't overbearing, heavy-handed or ridiculously overcomplicated, presenting a easy-to-get-into effort that will go a long way towards gaining them a sizable audience. Likewise, the lyrics aren't depressingly cynical or full of the clichéd angst that permeates most of the genre - instead they have a good bit of heart and show a reserved intelligence that allows to the lyrics to flow well with Murray's charming voice.

Lo-Pro's self-titled debut opens with Fuel, a conflicted track that swings back and forth between roaring, throaty rock and a lighter passages that play up Murray's vocals. Following this is Not Me, which opens with a pounding pulse of guitars that flows into moments of Murray lashing out vocally. The first two tracks do a good job at setting the tone for the rest of the album and by the time track three, Sunday, a more melancholy effort, rolls in, you're not caught completely off-guard.

1Day is a fine track that feels so relaxed and calm until you reach the chorus, which lashes out with "I'd find a million ways to feel nothing. I'd find a million ways to be free, and everything I've lost would mean nothing, and everything I am would be me." The album also features a few "ballads", like Oblivion, Reach and Bombz, but these tracks can only be referred to as ballads in that they're more passive in execution than the rest of the album. To go along with these are songs like Walk Away and Thread that find a fine balance between power and calm.

If you haven't figured it out by now, I really have to say that the fusion of Murray's great vocals and the tone of the guitars/bass seem to be the real draw for this album. It's like listening to audio honey. But, this isn't to say that there aren't things I wish were a little different. A lot of the album seems to fall under a similar "feel" in that a number of the tracks feel interchangeable. This is especially noticeable towards the end, where the last couple tracks tend to drag on, only to be broken up with the likes of Fake, an excellent low-toned rip on people who backstab others to benefit themselves.

Is this debut worth a listen to? I'd say yes. Easily. If just for Pete Murray's wonderful vocals alone. There's more than enough great stuff here to please hard rock fans and start the act's career off well. You can tell from the effort that the band has room to grow without proverbially "painting themselves into a corner".

- - Vane

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