Greta Van Fleet‘s anticipated debut opens with a number that reminds me of Jethro Tull meets Muse, a dramatic blend of classixc rock and proggy influences before the more patented blues rock side of the band’s sound carries “Age of Man” forward. While the record could have charged forth with reckless abandon it makes sense in a way that the group, often compared to Led Zep, wanted to drop you notice that you are in for the long haul and this is an album lovers album. The mid paced majestic march of the song is very well done and shows the band’s hype is now bearing more tangible long term fruit. Still, for all the albums merits I can’t help but wonder how a new band doing more of an original sound would fare if they had the same financial support and marketing push as these guys.
Anthem Of The Peaceful Army indeed has a GREAT mix and the group manage to capture their soulful and youthful energy to a terrific degree. It sounds amazing even on my shitty cheap computer speakers, like you are hearing something IMPORTANT. Everyone did a great job and fans of the band are going to be thrilled. It sucks that a friend of mine wasn’t able to see them recently because bots purchased all the tickets in seconds and marked them up for Stub Hub, but the potential of having a live experience is different than what we are talking about today…the album itself. The Plant and Page mimicry finally comes on thick in second track “The Cold Wind” and if you are gonna hang with this band you are just gonna have to decide if you can deal with it or not. Cuz yeah, they don’t only capture youthful energy but tend to try to “clone the dinosaurs”, so to speak. And I love Zep and dinosaurs, so that is not meant as an insult. Even the Zep guys would admit they are aging rock royalty (and we love them, of course). That said, they made a video for my least favorite song “When The Curtain Falls”. Just felt too distracting even for my open mind on that one, though I still am torn because God knows how many bands copied, say, Green Day or The RAMONES.
Like new Alice In Chains, for some people it seems a little too much like trying to recreate something classic, but for many others (in GVF and new AIC cases) it is thrilling. The difference is that some of the real Alice are still IN Alice and I am afraid that makes a big fucking difference. I am not so crazy about direct “Ooh yeah” Plant style vocal lifts, but the rest of the time it doesn’t bother me sooo much that the GVF band are obviously doing an homage to their influences rather than pretending they personally invented the wheel themselves, but other times I change my mind and get distracted and cringe here and there. I still know an even split between “wow, rad” reactions and “fuck this sacrilege shit” responses (much like the DIO hologram) when people discover GVF amongst my peer group. Well, there are more harmful things in life, like the big rap releases of this week Wayne and Con-Perrier-Ye both having XXXTentacion post death cameos like it is no big deal he gay bashed a guy and brutalized a woman with nary any real convincing show of tangible remorse (despite what “he was gonna change” apologists keep saying and despite death still being tragic). At least these guys seem to be real chill dudes and I loved interviewing them awhile ago and wish them the best. I am certain they will get better and better.
Anyway, back to GVF…”Watching Over” is a cool, crawling song that mentions “water rising” (heard that somewhere before, haha), but again it is somehow intriguing rather than so derivative you feel like they are pouring it on too thick. I mean, the songs are just so damn good that it feels like either a young Zep somehow started with ZOSO or that somewhere in rock history we overlooked some classic rock gems and then the vocals were remixed with a little modern polish. “Mountain of the Sun” is a little more Houses Of The Holy, twangy guitar and summery vocals aiming to kiss the sun. All in all the band remain very much a topic of conversation and semi-controversy. You can’t deny their talent and songwriting, but it would be nice on the next one to see them move a bit more into their own territory rather than reshaping the clay of the past.