Proving to be one of the most sought-after live rock acts of their generation and having sold over one million tickets worldwide for over 250 sold-out shows on five continents – including selling out each of their headline shows for the past two years, Greta Van Fleet return with their third album ‘Starcatcher’.
Anyone who’s been to a Greta Van Fleet show over the past few years knows that they bring a ferocious vibe to the stage and to build and maintain on this record, the band decided to pursue it live. This gives the album a very organic feel that shows how it has evolved over the years. That said, the album will return to the band’s roots when Josh Kizka (vocals) does it. his twin brother, Jake Kizka (guitar); their younger brother, Sam Kizka (bass/keyboards); and his friend Danny Wagner (drums) play in their parents’ garage in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
The whole concept of Starcatcher, even before the name, was, “Let’s take it back to the beginning. Let’s keep that momentum going. At the same time in the future, we will return to our roots.’
Directed by Grammy winner Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell), the ‘Starcatcher’ production is more stripped-down than the 2021 release of ‘The Battle at Garden’s Gate’.‘, Turn on the device. This can be heard from the opening track ‘Fate Of The Faithful’ classic rock with hints of blues with Jake Kiska blurring the lines between Jimmy Page and Stevie Ray Vaughn, all while keeping his own identity as a guitarist. You wouldn’t expect anything less from the band’s solid musicianship at this point, but it continues with their ten track offering. Take the album’s soulful, elegiac first single, ‘Meeting the Teacher’, before blossoming into a classic Greta Van Fleet rock ‘n’ roll anthem with a majestic guitar solo and drumming.
Previous releases ‘The Falling Sky’ and ‘Sacred the Thread’ are foot-tapping, head-nodding anthems that showcase the band’s ability to work together effortlessly. Instead of coming up with fully formed songs for the album, Greta Van Fleet came up with basic structures, concepts and ideas and came up with arrangements in the studio.
Something seems to fall out of the sky, and you’ve got it, if you have a preconceived idea of how to strategically explore writing and production. When we got inside, suddenly things started shooting.”says Josh. ‘Everyone was able to put together the music fairly quickly.’
Although it lasts only one minute and seventeen seconds, ‘Runway Blues’ is an album highlight. Without attending a live show, this short burst gives the listener a chance to hear Greta Van Fleet’s energy and willingness to put their show into each and every song. The record’s loudest and most dynamic, it makes for a great live interlude.
‘For our platform we wanted to make the sound very real and make the music easy to create.’ Wagner says. We want to focus on text so that the tools speak for themselves.
‘The Indigo Streak’ vibrates with the hues of 70s psychedelia, with intermingled vocals set amidst a well-crafted soundscape. Guitars are well-crafted throughout the composition and you can hear well-placed textural additions throughout the album with synths and B-Bender guitar tricks.
Jake admits that the members of Greta Van Fleet have a tight musical chemistry, with the producers sometimes struggling to find a place to fit in studio sessions. But Cobb was a seamless addition. ‘Dave is a captain. It helped us get from point A to point B without diminishing or reducing our own voice.
Among other things, Cobb secretly recorded the band working through their ideas, and these demos eventually became the foundational album tracks, because they captured Greta Van Fleet in such a comfortable and relaxed way. “He taught us to trust ourselves.”Wagner says. We historically take too much time and burden ourselves in many ways. He took all that insecurity and threw it out the window.’ Perhaps this is a result of the presence of music from other parts of the world in the Nashville scene, where bands feel the need to be overly selective with their own music? However, Greta Van Fleet has come along as a true testament to keeping the music flowing.
‘Frozen Light’ is one of those guitars that opens up the floor amazingly and manages to capture the nuances of Jake’s playing, much of which comes from the legendary Gibson SG. His slightly overdriven sound lends itself well to the sequel and harkens back to their early rock influences.
Album featured ‘Goodbye For Now’ is a relaxed finale to the four-parter. Having said that, there is still a decent guitar solo by Jake Kizka to close out the record. Throughout ‘Starcatcher’ the band manages to create rugged, yet reflective and soulful music and despite the expected comparisons to Led Zeppelin, it doesn’t feel like the band, hell, are rock giants now. The record manages to capture two sides of the band, their exciting live performances as well as their secret and deep approach to songwriting behind closed doors. Greta Van Fleet’s diverse yet complementary personalities contributed to the band’s success. Danny is fit for a drummer, careful and intelligent, but very brief in his comments. Jake is also meticulous and detailed about the band’s musical processes, but also has an eye on the bigger picture. Sam, meanwhile, is more laid-back and ordinary, but he easily digs into philosophical musings and occasionally even a light hearted one of his brothers. And Josh is also friendly and easy-going, with a dry sense of humor and a knack for describing ordinary situations with vivid, creative imagery. For fans of classic and prog rock, this one’s for you.
Track List: 1. Fate of the Faithful 2. Waited All Your Life 3. Falling Sky 4. Sacred Thread 5. Runway Blues 6. Indigo Streak 7. Frozen Light 8. The Archer 9. Meeting the Master 10. Farewell for Now. Record ID: EMI Official date: July 21, 2023 Buy ‘Starcatcher’ now