Review: Greta Van Fleet – ‘Black Smoke Rising EP’

It’s impossible to mention Greta Van Fleet without talking about the ages of the band members. Four guys, two are eighteen and the other two have just turned twenty one. The ages are relevant considering exactly how worldly and experienced they sound. I’m sure that there will be a scratchy, messed up recording somewhere of them finding their feet, but found them they have, and in some style. Consisting of three brothers (two of them twins) and their best friend, Greta Van Fleet have produced a sound that you will be familiar with, but at the same time, they give it a massive shot of much-needed youthful vigour. As close to classic Led Zeppelin as you will ever find, without actually going to see one of the many tribute bands out there. Closer than Andrew Stockdale and Wolfmother, who stopped short of going full Zeppelin. Greta Van Fleet thankfully ignored the warnings about never going full Zeppelin, as these guys have certainly produced material that belies their relative lack of experience. Vocalist Josh Kiszka possesses a fine Robert Plant howl, one that he uses to great effect throughout this short four track EP. Opener, ‘Highway Tune’, kicks off with so many trademark Plant-isms that Kiszka can expect a letter from Plant’s lawyers any day now. It’s the kind of song that inspired the old adage “dance like no-one is watching”. It has such a groove that staying still is not an option. The guitar sound is huge throughout, as Jake Kiszka has you mouthing “how old?”, whereas the pounding beats from brother Sam on the bass and the only non-Kiszka, Danny Wagner on drums, shake the foundations as the volume control sneaks way past 11. ‘Black Smoke Rising’ slows it down a notch, but the energy from the opener is merely replaced with some of the biggest hooks to be heard. There are numerous Zeppelin traits to pick up on, the “wooh wooh’s” from Josh, the subtle middle eastern influences in the background, the dreamy mid section that gives way to monster riffs from Jake, but it’s the huge, uplifting vocals that really stick out, a bonafide classic in the making. ‘Safari Song’ begins with a gorgeous guitar riff, swampy and bluesy, and with enough chutzpah to put any doubters squarely in their place. The vocals that come in around the 2.40 mark are jaw dropping, especially considering that there will still be some American states where Kiszka is not old enough to drink. Any song with a title like ‘Flower Power’ is always going to be trippier and less full force than the other tracks featured, and this one is exactly that. Again, the standard of playing, as well as the level of maturity on display, is staggering.   Greta Van Fleet prove that age definitely ain’t nothing but a number, ‘Black Smoke Rising EP’ is available now. Check out the band on Facebook for more information.]]>

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