Greta Van Fleet Take a Leap Forward With ‘Anthem of the Peaceful Army’ – Album Review
Rarely does a rock band arrive on the scene quite like Greta Van Fleet did, making an immediate splash last year with their "Highway Tune" song premiere (which came right here at Loudwire). Within weeks, the band had begun attracting a fanbase, and they had not yet released (or even recorded) their debut album. 2017 saw the group string together two EPs -- Black Smoke Rising and From the Fires -- but their fans have been eagerly awaiting their proper full-length debut.
With so much hype and anticipation, there is plenty at stake. So, we're happy to say that Anthem of the Peaceful Army definitely holds up as a solid, and even ambitious, debut release for the band.
The brothers Kiszka (Josh on vocals, guitarist Jake and bassist Sam) and drummer Danny Wagner remain rooted in revivalist hard-edged classic rock, but they manage to put their own fresh stamp on that vintage sound. Sure, they wear their influences on their sleeves, but they deserve credit for penning any number of songs that would've held up in the '60s or '70s on FM rock radio.
"Age of Man" opens the album on a somewhat maudlin note, but like the "tree of life" mentioned in the track, the song is something of a journey, growing subtly into a mid-tempo rocker and emerging as a track brimming with energy by the end of its six-minute-plus runtime.
"When the Curtain Falls" is the wickedly nimble lead single from the album, telling the story of a somewhat public fall from grace, but this tragic tale is oozing with musical vitality. "Lover Leaver (Take Believer)" stands out as the album's catchiest song. Wagner comes to the forefront with an undeniable drum beat, while Josh Kiszka's bluesy vocal paints a vivid picture of a temptress who has invaded his soul.
Other highlights include "The Cold Wind," a track that finds guitarist Jake Kiszka delivering funky Joe Walsh-ish playing, while brother Josh sounds like he is having the time of his life. "You're the One" offers one of the first changes of pace for the album, with the mid-tempo track bolstered by a huge sing-along chorus. It definitely shows more range, with Josh Kiszka holding back his powerful siren-like voice for something sweetly melodic. The closing "Anthem" is a joy as well, starting on acoustic guitar, developing a prominent galloping beat and finishing with a take notice choral vocal.
In our current era, there's probably nothing less chic to music critics than white, hippy-ish dudes singing blues-based rock and roll, and most of them will surely have their knives out for Greta's debut. This music -- thankfully -- isn't meant for trend followers. Meanwhile, theaters (and probably, arenas) of fans will be rocking out to these songs in the coming months when Greta hits the road. And, most likely, in the coming years as well.
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