So, forgive me, for I have indeed sinned. I am very late to the Greta Van Fleet party, I am not so bad that I have been living under a rock for the last number of years, I have seen their astronomical rise to fame (from a distance) and heard the rumblings but I genuinely have never heard a track until reviewing this album.
So what can a newbie expect, putting aside years of internet chatter about who the anonymous masses think GFV are, well this little lady is going to take them at face value, I did not know that the band consisted of three brothers, I love that, I love the connection siblings bring to a musical jam, history has brought us so many cool family bands that are just on another level, from huge mass appeal bands like The Jackson Five through to the heaviest of metal in Pantera with Dime and Vinnie, these family connections bring a whole another level of musical intelligence and intuition that you just can’t teach one of my favourite bands around at the moment Haim are another example of three sisters who effortlessly create the most beautiful soundscapes in their sleep.
So, it makes sense why people have got GVF from the off, the musicality, the complexity that just pours out of a band so deeply ingrained in each other’s lives, it is indeed a beautiful thing. The band’s third studio album opens with ‘Fate Of The Faithful’ a glorious opener that just demands your attention, Josh’s vocals cut through the mix like a hot knife through butter, with Jake’s sublime guitar work weaving beautiful melodic tapestries that complement Josh’s vocals every step of the way. If you’re not sold on this band and album, by the four-minute, forty-six-second-long track, then you’ll never be, but I’m in.
‘Waited All Your Life’ is more of an acoustic embellished track with a rousing sound and ethereal feel, it does make you wonder how a GVF songwriting session goes, the bands sound is so free-flowing and unrestrained you have to wonder when an idea is tossed out into the room just where it starts and stops. It must equally be a joy to work within such an environment, Jake’s glorious guitar work features heavily on the intro to ‘The Falling Sky’ with its blistering pace, beautifully held together by a serious backline, thumping bassline and killer drum work, you can imagine this transferring to the live stage perfectly. The signature sound of great songwriting tends to be the spaces in between that bands of real quality so unassumingly leave in their songs that allow all members to shine, ‘Sacred The Thread’ is one such track where the interchange between Josh’s vocals, Jake’s guitar and the drums and bass coming in and out across the track allow for each member to contribute without ever stepping on each other toes, over-playing, keeping the sublime musical train between the tracks, like a gloriously woven tapestry it all fits together perfectly.
The musical freedom applied by GVF allows them to explore any given journey they pursue on this album, you are immediately transported into a classic rock underworld that will envelop you from start to finish, there is no escaping it, you simply have to give in to its extravagant majesty, letting it flow over you like a warm summer breeze. Tracks like ‘Frozen Light’ are an education in songwriting, a bruising one at that for the faint of heart. ‘The Archer’ with its melodic charm carries you towards the conclusion of the album, ‘Meeting The Master’ a future classic no doubt, with its sublime melodic lines building to a crescendo edges us further towards the album closer ‘Farewell For Now’, a reflective track that perfectly wraps up this tasty collection of songs.
Greta Van Fleet is indeed a band to capture the imagination, far removed from so many of the cookie-cutter bands on the rock scene right now they are a breath of fresh air to help cleanse the pallet and keep the faith.
Starcatcher is one hell of an album, from one hell of a band.
You can get your copy from Friday, July 21st courtesy of Lava/Republic/EMI Records
GRETA VAN FLEET – STARCATCHER
1. Fate Of The Faithful
2. Waited All Your Life
3. The Falling Sky
4. Sacred The Thread
5. Runway Blues
6. The Indigo Streak
7. Frozen Light
8. The Archer
9. Meeting The Master
10. Farewell For Now