Album of the Week: Greta Van Fleet, 'Anthem of the Peaceful Army'


Greta Van Fleet, 'Anthem of the Peaceful Army'
Greta Van Fleet, 'Anthem of the Peaceful Army' (Republic Records)

Greta Van Fleet's debut full-length 'Anthem of the Peaceful Army' has generated a lot of conversation and critical reviews since its release on October 19. Here's Mary Lucia's perspective. Please share your thoughts in the comments at the bottom of the feature.

In 2017 Greta Van Fleet, a band of 3 brothers and a pal on drums, bounded from Frankenmuth, Michigan right out of the vinyl pants gate with a pair of EP's defining themselves as either the young torch bearers of classic rock or a reductive Led Zeppelin karaoke cover.

Led Zeppelin being a behemoth presence that still receives regular radio airplay doesn't help Greta Van Fleet because it draws so much focus on how these young cats are not the progenitors of Heavy Rock, rather, a good cover band.

On their full length Anthem of the Peaceful Army, Greta Van Fleet seem to be worshipping at the right altar, in theory, but fall painfully short of adding anything to the bluesier side of their heroes musical diagram. Lyrically it's a tiny bit painful to hear the young singer Josh Kiszka bust out the dozens of "Sweet Mamas" that litter these tracks, or the tune "The New Day" that features Josh singing about watching a child grow in a garden, seeing her bloom so she can, "be a woman soon." Did he write that while sitting in daycare eating a fruit roll up? 3 years ago?

I'm trying so hard not to be a snob. I fully admit to loving the cheekiness of The Darkness who aped their forbearers sound and look with a clear sense of humor. That might be what's missing here. The earnestness which Greta Van Fleet deliver their retro fetish is missing something major. An ounce of originality and danger. The highlight on the record "When The Curtain Falls" delivers a stand alone whiff of authenticity.

Nostalgia for those of a certain age, (basically anyone who ever had to MacGyver paraphernalia out of a piece of fruit or a soda pop can) have defended Greta Van Fleet as embracing the "armadillos in our trousers" anthem of classic rock of their youth while the Instagram generation never owned a copy of Houses Of The Holy so this is new music understandably. I get it. I'm torn because I love guitar music, nodding to rock history with a healthy dose of amps turned up to 11.

I can like Greta Van Fleet. I just don't have to take them seriously.

My review of Anthem Of The Peaceful Army is: go see them LIVE.


Greta Van Fleet - Official Site

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