New Music Friday
Greta Van Fleet’s “Anthem of the Peaceful Army”
Formed in 2012, Greta Van Fleet is a young rock band from the small town of Frankenmuth, Michigan. Frankenmuth, or rather, “Little Bavaria,” is best known for being the home of Bronner's Christmas Wonderland which is promoted as “the world’s largest Christmas store.” Greta Van Fleet consists of twenty-two-year-old twin brothers, vocalist Josh Kiska, and guitarist Jake Kiska, nineteen-year-old younger brother, and bassist Sam Kiska, and nineteen-year-old drummer Danny Wagner. Greta Van Fleet is often compared to Led Zeppelin rather unsurprisingly as Josh Kiska’s howling falsetto rips through each song in a way that is reminiscent of Robert Plant’s distinct vocals. Personally, I consider Greta Van Fleet to sound much like The Black Crowes (Josh’s vocals being the only exception). Greta Van Fleet’s roots in blues and soul are obviously reflected in their music much like the British Invasion bands of the ‘60s like The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and countless others. It was truly shocking to hear Josh’s pure rock ‘n’ roll shriek (not unlike Robert Plant’s) on “Safari Song” and “Highway Tune” off of their 2017 released “From The Fires” double EP. Josh’s voice sounded so similar to Robert Plant’s that it was a bit disconcerting (but completely awesome). Last March, Robert Plant even nodded to Greta Van Fleet in an interview with Australia’s Network Ten, “There’s a band in Detroit called Greta Van Fleet. They are Led Zeppelin I. Beautiful little singer, I hate him!”
Greta Van Fleet released their debut LP, “Anthem of the Peaceful Army” on October 19, 2018. The album contains standout tracks such as, “Age of Man,” “When The Curtain Falls,” “Brave New World,” “Mountain of the Sun,” and “Lover Leaver (Taker, Believer).” With Jake’s strong and tuneful guitar riffs, Josh’s golden pipes, Danny’s solid drumming, and Sam’s distorted bass, “Anthem of the Peaceful Army” is a solid hard rock album that packs a powerful punch. However, many of the songs on the album lack a variance in sound and composition which, in turn, lowered my rating of the album. Greta Van Fleet could be a vital rock band of my generation, that is until they find their specific sound. Quite a few of their songs have a general classic rock feel of which we have all heard before. It takes a great band to take that and twist it and meld it and let it evolve into something else—something entirely different and new. Don’t get me wrong, I think Greta Van Fleet rocks. I am fond of many of their songs. I believe they have what it takes to dig deep and create that sound. It takes time for a band’s sound to evolve and I believe Greta Van Fleet is going to hang around for a while. It’s absolutely fantastic that this young rock band is starting to gain some traction, so to speak, in today’s music considering the current state of it. I believe pop music, among other things, is cyclical if the past is any indication. There are rock bands everywhere. One just has to dig a little to find them.
Of course, stylized and finely produced artists and groups can be fun to listen and dance to, but after a while, people need something that is real. They need bands that play hard, that pour sweat, blood, and tears into their music and performances (sometimes literally). Because for those bands, it’s about the music and the love of playing. Not the fame and everything that goes along with it. Some bands didn’t even mean to become famous, it just happened. (Nirvana, anyone?) Just look at what that caused in mainstream music and pop culture then. Who says that can’t happen now? Greta Van Fleet might just be the key or merely one of the many bands who will begin the next music movement. Rock and roll is not dead. Rock and roll is alive and well, thank you very much. Are you ready?