With not an instrumental bone in their body not ripped from the corpse of Led Zeppelin, the latest Greta Van Fleet album should be no surprise. Fancy dress for the band whose image is out of step with their sound. Where do they go from here? Starcatcher is a vague and endless run of muted form for the Joshua Kiszka-fronted band. His whinging vocals which replicate where they can and tank any chance of independent structure are still warbling away on album number three. No progress or chance of unique structure, just veiled in the skin of the past, passing off corpses and colourful collections of nostalgia as a new wave and not the emotional whiplash grift it is.
Still at least their format has changed enough to warrant minor improvements. Opener Fate Of The Faithful has the boisterous and fully tapped title only present in the ego-driven hands of wannabe rockers. It was par for the course in its heyday but now, masquerading as an interesting collection of influenced style, it makes for nothing of value beyond a grating self-observed impression. Greta Van Fleet thoroughly believes they are the grand return of 1970s rock when they could not be further from it. They are drifting now, from Led Zeppelin to Pink Floyd, as the acoustic encouragement of Waited All Your Life provides. Still, the hodgepodge of instrumentals fighting for attention and an out-of-place vocal style, a few octaves too high and a tad louder than the rest of the mix, decimates any hopes Starcatcher could hold.
Descriptors and comparisons levelled at modern musicians are inevitable though for Greta Van Fleet there is no sign they are attempting to battle against them. Influence and interpretation are blurred into one sick void on this ten-track album. Frustratingly enough is the potential Greta Van Fleet squander, particularly guitarist Jacob Kiszka, who must break free from these repetitive licks and riffs lifted from the best of the rock music from decades ago. He provides a clear understanding of where these songs can go but is hindered, by and large by a vocalist whose pitch style equates to the recent Glastonbury show put on by Axl Rose of Guns ‘n’ Roses. Their best album so far, even with deplorable headache-inducers like The Falling Sky or the unmistakably bleak and thankfully brief bridge on Runaway Blues.
Flat from word go, Starcatcher does nothing but catch a drift or sense of works from years gone by. It is the third time Greta Van Fleet has worn the costumes of the past and there is little more to it. Exhausting and draining in all the wrong ways. Mad moments of electric fusion from only the best guitarists out there can still dominate when bled into a song which feels for a spot in culture, rather than a snug corner of battering out the old messages of decades before. Heartless baby steps for wannabe real rock fans, desperate for another hit of what they used to love. The times are changing but with that is the useful tool of nostalgia, set to peddle the likes of Starcatcher to inevitably comfortable heights. Don’t look back. Don’t look down. It’s a long drop for Greta Van Fleet should they ever stop to wonder. Farewell for Now bows the band out. Hopefully for some time.