- 16 Apr 21
Unashamedly fun ‘70s rock pastiche from Michigan rockers
Named after a real person in their hometown of Frankenmuth, Michican, Greta Van Fleet sound like a band who were formed for a bet, but have somehow crossed over into mainstream success.
When the Kiszka brothers, twins Josh (vocals) and Jake (guitar) and younger sibling Sam (bass), along with drummer Danny Wagner, started making ‘70s-inspired rock, they could hardly have imagined it would lead to Grammy awards and playing with Elton John at his post-Oscars shindig. Nor could they have been prepared for the backlash, critics lambasting them as a Led Zepp tribute act, with Josh’s wince-inducing vocal compared to Robert Plant’s unearthly howl.
The Zeppelin comparisons are still valid, but they’ve added a touch of Rush (‘Age Of Machine’), Creedence (‘My Way’) and even Elton John himself (‘Light My Love’) for good measure. On the highly addictive opener ‘The Heat Above’, the singing sounds cartoon-high, as if the music is playing at 33rpm, with the vocals at 45. The swirling guitars of ‘Built By Nations’ and ‘Caravel’ come straight from the Jimmy Page songbook, while closing epic ‘The Weight Of Dreams’ is almost beautiful, in a hypnotic proggy kind of way.
It can be a little slavishly pastiche for its own good, but the quartet sound like they’re having so much fun, they don’t really care. At its best, it’s hard not to dust off your air guitar, crank the imaginary amp up to 11, and go for it.