Thursday, 13 September 2018

Greta Van Fleet "Black Smoke Rising" (2017)

Do Greta Van Fleet live up to the hype? Does it even matter? Music should be about what you get out of it! If you can connect with the artists vision there is often something wonderful to be enjoyed. That is certainly the case for me and I even got to see them live earlier in the year at Download Festival. I really wish I had got to spin these songs sooner as I would of really dug that show. Familiarity and repetition are important for getting to know music but the reality is I was already singing along by the third listen. The four songs that make up this record are fantastic.

Hailing from Michigan USA, Greta have fallen under the spotlight for their enigmatic revival of 60s Rock, frequently being compared to the likes of Led Zeppelin. It is singer Josh Kiszka, one of the three brothers, who's electric singing makes them stand out. His howling voice hails back to that era vividly and compared to anything popular, or within my scope that's happening right now, he stands alone. It is a little unfair to focus on him alone though, the rest of the group embodies this era too.

Across these four songs you may be thinking this is a nostalgia trip but whats really making this music tick is the songwriting. The hooks are driving and powerful, the keys and organs gleam with that spark Lynyrd Skynyrd had. The music develops its themes and channels them into fantastic eruptions of energy when Josh kicks his voice into fifth gear and the guitars rise up with the hard grooving licks. Between its brilliant choruses the verses set the tone for whats to come, keeping you anticipating the shifts and waves of mood and charged emotion that come with it.

Another thought crosses my mind. This is not a style and era of music I'm that well versed in and so they could be plugging a void. The production is modern, bright and crisp, so much so to make the music far more inviting compared to the soft and muted recordings of times gone by. As I said up above, music is what you can get out of it. If you've exhausted everything from a style you like then its hard to get excited about new music in the same vein. I can see why fans of Classic Rock are skeptical but there is a huge opertunity here for a new generation to discover some truly fantastic music.

Favorite Tracks: Safari Song, Flower Power, Black Smoke Rising
Rating: 7/10

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