Greta Van Fleet
Anthem of the Peaceful Army
I’ll acknowledge it right at the top, Pitchfork did a number on this band – they nailed it; got it right in a way the website hasn’t managed in years – and to not acknowledge this and go on to write about this band now would be, well, it’d be like the members of Greta Van Fleet suggesting they weren’t previously aware of anything called… “A Led Zeppelin?”
I actually think that Greta Van Fleet’s debut full-length album sounds more like really bad Rush than very bad Led Zeppelin, or at least that the lead shrieker is more hopped-up Geddy Lee than the hyped Robert Plant comparisons.
Yes, there are some late-period Zep-styled riffs – but where don’t you hear that influence in rock music? Or at the least why wouldn’t you?
The lyrics. Yes they’re absurd. And so were most of Zep’s and all of Rush’s – but there might have almost been an excuse back in the day; the same generation that posts Snopes links underneath satirical articles and Googles everything and asks for pics or it didn’t happen can’t be allowed to also sing in earnest “And every glow in the twilight knows/That the world is only what the world is made of”. Well, they can. And they did. But you know…not on my watch. (And yes, it’s an old man’s/old-world wristwatch…)
I am not offended by this band. But I am baffled that they a) exist and b) have drawn anything resembling a passionate defence after being mocked so nearly-perfectly by the Pitchforkers.
If I had heard this without knowing about the Pitchfork review I would simply have written that “This year’s Battle of the Bands winners have done well stretching the award-money to make a professional-sounding recording” – for that was my initial thought. But, all commentary on the band now exists through the prism of those that chuckled and those that were angered by Pitchfork (and those that remember when Pitchfork, Zeppelin and Tolkien all meant anything at all…for there is no history at all, there is only now, an ever-constant now that’s also always changing, keep up old man, the world-of-now is only what the world-of-now is made of now. Now-then…)
It’s more plausible that Greta Van Fleet thought Almost Famous was an incredible documentary. And sought to emulate the band from that. And (this version of) Stillwater doesn’t run deep. And how could it. These are different times. And this bullshit is so easily detected.
The biggest sadness is in anyone thinking this sounds like the drummer from Led Zeppelin.
Not one fucking chance.
My other feeling about this album arrived halfway through the first listen (and definitely there’s some Zep-theft going on with the song Lover, Leaver – and that’s not defending Zeppelin against theft, we all know that’s not a good ceremony to stand on) is that the Greta Van Fleet album (and now its defence, and the band’s entire practice-room backstory) is reminiscent of that time when Lorde went on Marc Maron’s interview podcast and talked up how much she loved Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac.
It’s my choice to not believe her. And that’s not sexist or ageist and if you think it’s elitist then that simply means you’re far dumber than I imagined (but of course I haven’t thought about it for too long).
You see, in the end, it doesn’t matter whether Lorde really does love the Peter Green-era of Fleetwood Mac. What matters is she knew that she was supposed to say that to him. A guy that constantly talks about how much he loves Peter Green; that holds him up as a bastion of (British) blues guitar…this was the guy to tell that yarn to.
And the same machine that makes Lorde do that, at that moment, is the same machine that spit-polishes designer-hippie-looking wise-beyond-the-years retro-rocking youngsters. And gets them to spit out this shit.
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