They are likened to the ressurection of Led Zeppelin, but rather they are the revival of the psychedelic and aphrodisiacal spirit of ‘60s folk rock. Greta Van Fleet, comprised of brothers Josh (vocalist), Jake (guitarist) and Sam Kiszka (bassist) along with drummer Danny Wagner, burst onto the rock scene in late 2017 following the success of their debut studio EP Black Smoke Rising. Their highway-rambler melodies, Woodstock aesthetic, and tantric guitar riffs resonate with the Led deep in my soul, but they manage to harness those nostalgic foundations and build upon them. Blending contemporary themes with impressive lyrical acrobatics and hauntingly echoey hooks, Greta Van Fleet may just be the best shower music band of all time.
I may be a little slow on boarding their hype train, because in 2019 out of their four Grammy nominations, they received the Grammy for Best Rock Album. I only found out about the band after watching their performance on Saturday Night Live earlier in 2019. Usually I’d skip past the music guest, but their bohemian attire and Burning Man vibe caught my interest. The slow build of the guitar lulled me into thinking they were another alt rock band looking to be the next Kings of Leon. All of a sudden they hit the bridge of Black Smoke Rising and the vocals came in sounding like Robert Plant and Geddy Lee singing along to Guns and Roses through the tape deck of a Pontiac GTO while crushing a pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. By the end of their song, I was enveloped by feelings of nostalgia, adrenaline, ecstasy, and listlessness; like the seventh hour epiphany of a one-way road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway. For weeks after that I could not get their hooks out of my head, and so I decided to immerse myself instead.
Hearing this music is like tasting a childhood meal for the first time again. All it’s elements contain a sense of familiarity, while composition and execution are delightfully novel. They manage to pay homage to the old Greats while displaying their irrefutable artistry and still rock so damn hard. I give this band at least two lighters up; to raise your phone in place of a proper lighter would be disrespectful to the legacy of rock that Greta Van Fleet is striving to preserve. I look forward to the directions in folk, blues, and psychedelic rock this band takes in their future and I hope they preserve and build upon the flowerchild sensation their music evokes in its listeners.