Friday, 2 November 2018

Greta Van Fleet "Anthem Of The Peaceful Army" (2018)


The lime light is upon these young Classic Rock enthusiasts Greta Van Fleet. The time has come, this is their moment. I was enthralled by Black Smoke Rising and lukewarm on From The Fires but very much excited for this, their highly anticipated debut. With the first couple of listens I couldn't get along with much of it but with persistence I pushed through and found that the record is plagued by misfires that seem to dispel the magic its decent tracks conjure. Its lacking on those too. Anthem Of The Peaceful Army has few heights, some stinking lows and too much mediocrity.

Starting with the good we have the riled up energy of this era niche sound coming out through riffs of attitude and gusto, funky powerful drumming and the wild, soaring voice of Joshua Kiszka but only in a handful of moments. Unsurprisingly it pulls together well on lead single When The Curtains Fall. A song on par with the first EP.

The mediocrity seems to lie in the bands relying on tropes of that era gone by. The energy isn't always within their songwriting but more so the ideas of that time. Its as if the riffs, vocals and general approach to the music falls back on its nostalgic aesthetics, with more care given to capturing those older tones in a modern setting than getting the compositions and emotional direction right.

Then comes the ugly. I would mostly be critical of singer Joshua who, despite a fantastic voice, seems to miss the tone with his lyrics and performance style at times. The end of the record is tedious and his song Anthem seems to be a "come together" song, highlighting current political polarization and offering up a vacuous sentiment in return. Its lack of meaningful substance makes for unendurable listening.

I dislike being critical. It takes a lot of talent and effort to put together a record and as a listener I want nothing more than to enjoy the music but this misses the mark on so many levels. The inconsistency is strange and bar a few good songs this could of been a real stinker from a band who showed so much promise in reviving an old sound. Instead of moving that sound forward they seem to have circled the waters with little idea of where to go next. Very disappointing.

Favorite Tracks: When The Curtains Fall, Watching Over, Mountain Of The Sun
Rating: 5/10

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