GRETA VAN FLEET
FROM THE FIRES
Released on November 10, 2017 (Republic Records)
The cream rises to the top… There has certainly been a lot of hype surrounding Michigan, USA youngsters Greta Van Fleet and I got to say that the band more than meets the hype on their double EP From The Fires. It’s been a while since I have seen as much excitement for a rock n’ roll band in the press and beyond as it seems that Greta Van Fleet are catching on and quickly! Funny enough, Greta Van Fleet aren’t bringing anything really original to the table as they sound awfully like Led Zeppelin with some more modern production. In fact, Greta Van Fleet do Led Zeppelin really well. Given that it’s been 37 years since the death of Led Zeppelin‘s drummer John Bonham and the dissolution of the band shortly after his passing, it’s not that surprising that Led Zeppelin styled music would finally re-emerge in force. Did I mention that Greta Van Fleet do Led Zeppelin really well?
Perhaps the most incredible thing about Greta Van Fleet is that the band members are so close with three of them brothers (singer Josh, guitarist Jacob and bassist Samuel) along with “close family” friend and drummer Danny Wagner. One can only imagine how much time that the three brothers put in together rehearsing and refining their sound so although the band feels like an overnight sensation, the core band members have actually been together as a group for five years. Greta Van Fleet‘s songs have an unparalleled maturity to them, which sets the band apart from many of its contemporaries and is probably one of the key reasons why so many people are into them. The songs are rich and well crafted with a real ’70s flavour to them while still sounding fresh.
While it’s great that Greta Van Fleet have released this double EP, the reality is that four of the songs were released earlier this year under the Black Smoke Rising EP. Accordingly, if you already have that EP, you might not be that enthused with shelling out money to only get four new songs out of eight. That’s not an issue for me for this one but I gotta think that if I had bought Black Smoke Rising, I would be slightly annoyed at having those four songs repackaged with only four new ones that include two cover songs. I know that many bands seem to do that these days. For example, the now disbanded Last Call Messiahs included the four songs on their debut self-titled EP as part of their full-length debut album Sermons Of Debauchery two years later. Canadian rockers Dextress included three of their four songs from their initial The Demo EP on their recently released self-titled full-length album. The difference between those two bands and Greta Van Fleet is that the songs were re-recorded for the latter two’s subsequent releases while Greta Van Fleet have simply used the same recordings for the songs that appear on the Black Smoke Rising EP and the double EP From The Fires.
Greta Van Fleet‘s “new” double EP From The Fires kicks off with the Led Zeppelin-ish guitar riff for “Safari Song” which sets the stage very well for what you can expect from the band. By the time that lead vocalist Joshua Michael Kiszka starts singing, I feel this strong pull to listen to the entire track and see where the group is going to go. Having heard “Safari Song” more than 25 times now, I still feel that urge to listen to the entire track to see where the youngsters are going with it. Singer Joshua reminds me so much of Robert Plant. So much that I can picture Plant singing “Safari Song” with Jimmy Page handling the guitar on the song. The next track is one of two originals. “Edge Of Darkness” is a bit of a moodier rocker with singer Joshua‘s voice carrying the song. Interestingly, the Black Smoke Rising EP songs and the newly recorded ones are almost alternated back and forth. Although I like all the newly recorded songs, I have to say that the best tracks come from the Black Smoke Rising EP and the two weakest tracks are the two covers — “Change Is Gonna Come” and “Meet On The Ledge” — that the group tackles, which are the slowest of the bunch. The covers aren’t bad by any means but it would have been nice to hear more originals from the youngsters because the six originals that are on From The Fires range from good to exceptional.
The group’s signature song “Highway Tune” is simply a killer song which seems to incorporate the best of Led Zeppelin all in one song. It’s not surprising that the track seems to be getting re-recorded and/or re-released during the group’s short time thus far as I understand that “Highway Tune” first surfaced when the group had its original drummer Kyle Hauck in the band in 2012-13. “Talk On The Street” is about as straightforward rocker as Greta Van Fleet manage with the stupendous singing from Joshua Michael Kiszka. The former title track “Black Smoke Rising” once again showcases Joshua Michael Kiszka‘s fantastic vocals that carry the song once again. One thing that I noticed about Greta Van Fleet‘s songs is that they are so rich and mature that they don’t necessarily blow you away right away but give them a few listens and you’ll likely be pining to hear them again and again.
Rumours of a rock n’ roll resurgence seem more and more prevalent these days and Greta Van Fleet look poised and ready to lead and open the doors for this revival. Greta Van Fleet may not play sleaze type rock n’ roll but they do play quality timeless rock n’ roll and so damn it, another album to consider for the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2017. That top ten is getting awfully crowded this year.
01. Safari Song
02. Edge Of Darkness
03. Flower Power
04. Change Is Gonna Come
05. Highway Tune
06. Meet On The Ledge
07. Talk On The Street
08. Black Smoke Rising
Joshua Michael Kiszka – vocals
Jacob Thomas Kiszka – guitar
Samuel Francis Kiszka – bass
Daniel Robert Wagner – percussion
Produced, recorded and mixed by Marlon Young and Al Sutton
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, November 2017
Greta Van Fleet‘s “Highway Tune” video:
Highway Tune (Official Video) Song available here: https://republic.lnk.to/GretaVanFleetHighwayTuneYD Connect with Greta Van Fleet: https://www.facebook.com/gretavanfleet https://www.instagram.com/gretavanfleet https://twitter.com/GretaVanFleet http://gretavanfleet.com Directed by Ford Fairchild Produced by Christina Cooper For FOCO Creative Music video by Greta Van Fleet performing Highway Tune.
Greta Van Fleet performing “Safari Song” for 101WKQX intimate session at The Sound Lounge in Chicago, Illinois, USA:
Greta Van Fleet performs “Safari Song” during a 101WKQX intimate session in The Sound Lounge. The Sound Lounge is Chicago’s premiere music venue that hosts private, intimate concerts and exclusive events for 101WKQX. The only way in is to win! Text “lounge” to 312-101 to find out how you can be a part of the next Sound Lounge session!