Review Summary: Candy store rock.
In current times, I don’t think there’s a more polarising rock band at the minute than Greta Van Fleet. Praised and chastised for the very same reasons, Greta Van Fleet’s sonic inventory sits snugly in the pocket of nostalgia rock, and more to the point; 70s hard-rock. And I’d like to say I’m a reasonable human being, I’m all for a good hard-rock act that lays homage to the legends that started it all, but I believe in making things your own. I touched on this briefly awhile back, about the stagnation rock ‘n roll is currently in. I’ve found the underground scenes to be pushing the envelope exponentially, you just have to look in the right places. No, the common problem made by people isn’t the oversaturation of bands sounding derivative, it’s the stemming of its mainstream audience and the failure to embrace evolution. Like or loath NU-metal, it was the last time heavy music saw a real evolution that pushed boundaries for better or worse and it was embraced by the collective masses. Since then, consumers want music that doesn’t come from the conventional rock band, and I believe it’s down to lack of exposure and record label’s inability to take risks these days.
So where am I going with this？ Well, Greta Van Fleet is the antithesis of seeing rock flourish again. I don’t want my sentiment to be taken as hyperbole, but things are in a sorry state. Given the success they’re receiving with this plagiarism, it proves my point the mainstream doesn’t want progression, and the record labels making the money aren’t going to look for a band doing something different if the investment isn’t there. It’s a vicious circle the genre is stuck in, with little end in sight. But I don’t speak ill of the band’s achievements, I’m happy for their successes, what irks me is their lazy artistic visions – if you can call them that – being the reason for it. It’s no surprise in revealing who they take their inspirations from, quite honestly, it’s embarrassing. From the band’s appearance, aesthetic and stage gimmicks, to their approach of instrumentation and Josh Kiszka’s vocal work, it’s all an unabashed bootleg of Led Zeppelin’s seminal work. Josh’s bellowing snarls and shrill wails on the likes of “Watching Over” and “When The Curtains Fall” showcase his legitimately impressive vocal range, but goddamn is it an eye bulging shock to the senses when you try to assimilate it not being Robert Plant. The bouncy grooves and tight pocket rhythms ensure the backbone of compositions hold up their meticulous standards of ripping the legends off, while Jake does an exceptional job of replicating every facet of Page’s work; from the crystal clarity of his Marshall stacked screaming tone, right down to his blues solos and riffs.
The irony of course, is when you’re attempting to rip off four of music’s most talented individuals, the cracks are going to reveal themselves. You can sit in a bedroom for 20 years solid learning everything they ever did and buy all the fancy gear, but you can’t attain the heart and feel Led Zeppelin had – money can’t buy that kind of talent and connection. And while these chaps are indeed solid musicians, they lack the fundamental knowledge and talent to bring that level of hypnotism to the table. Anthem Of The Peaceful Army
is a half-baked attempt at sounding like their revered idols, which in the end sounds like a calculated and soulless project. All it left me wanting to do was smash on Physical Graffiti
to get my cravings fulfilled. Which ultimately brings me on to why I don’t understand the appeal of these guys. If you want Led Zeppelin, go listen to their massive catalogue of classics; if you want to hear them live, go listen to a tribute band that spends all the time and effort replicating them, and actually admits as much. The Darkness is a prime example of a band that takes its love for something and makes something different out of it; this is just a cynical opportunity to capitalise on fans wanting the past, and to my dismay, it's working.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A
ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: http://www.gretavanfleet.com/