Greta Van Fleet / With Starcatcher, the world is there for the taking

Original or copycats? My view upon hearing Greta Van Fleet for the first time certainly leant towards the latter. In fact, my wife thought that someone had unearthed some unreleased Led Zeppelin songs. But move forward a decade since GVF first formed, and although the resemblance remains, it’s hardly a fair comparison to continue to make.

Greta Van Fleet – Starcatcher (Lava/Republic/EMI Records)

Release Date: 21 July 2023

Words: Paul Hutchings

Two albums in, including their multi-million streaming second record, The Battle At Garden’s Gate, the band now move into the third album phase, which should serve to remind those who may have doubted them that they are here to stay. Not that there was any doubt for a band who have sold out every headline show they have played for the past two years.

Greta Van Fleet - Starcatcher
Greta Van Fleet – Starcatcher. “…the record is our perspective and sums up where we are as a group and individually as musicians.”

To capture some of their live sound, GVF tracked their music live. They have stripped back the production and took outline concepts of songs to the studios rather than fully formed tracks. That time in the studio provided the catalyst for the band to craft their music without over-editing.

“When we went in, it was like all of a sudden things just started firing off,” says singer Josh Kiska. “Everybody was able to put the music together fairly quickly.”

“We wanted to keep it very true to our stage sound and make the music easy to recreate,” drummer Danny Wagner added. “We wanted to focus on the writing so that the instruments speak for themselves.”

The result is impressive. A ten-track album that starts with Fate Of The Faithful and ends with Farewell For Now. There’s not a duff song here.

Fans will have already absorbed every note of the first single, Meeting The Master, as well as follow-up releases, Sacred The Thread, Farewell For Now and most recent track, The Falling Sky. Four songs demonstrate their range, versatility, and quality, which sees them popular enough to headline several arenas in the UK later in 2023 as part of their European tour.

There’s something about GVF that penetrates deep. Take the first song on Starcatcher, Fate Of The Faithful. Josh’s stunning vocals resonate alongside the elegant guitar work of brother Jake, anchored by younger brother Sam and drummer Danny. It’s a vibrant start which captures the imagination with an ease that doesn’t often come along like this.

There’s not one style here, but rather a myriad of performances that knit together, weaving a rich tapestry that improves like a fine wine. This is a band who are really coming into their own.

Starcatcher suggests, nay, demonstrates a maturity in GVF’s songwriting that has been honed through their journey so far. They’ve drawn deeply on the ideas that were present in The Battle At Garden Gate and threaded the themes through Starcatcher. “When I imagine the world of Starcatcher, I think of the cosmos,” says Danny. “It makes me ask a lot of questions, like ‘Where did we come from?’ or ‘What are we doing here?’ But it’s also questions like, ‘What is this consciousness that we have, and where did it come from?'”

It’s taken a while to record. The band first decamped to the legendary RCA studios in Nashville in early 2022 with Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb. Having recorded most of the album, they parked it for a year whilst touring.

Returning to it in early 2023, it’s evident that this approach provided just what was needed. The result speaks for itself. There’s the smouldering hard rock of Sacred The Thread, which weaves its spell in mesmeric fashion. The high energy of Runway Blues, which at 1:17 is over before it starts, but still sees GVF let rip. The haunting journey that is The Archer, or the passion for psychedelic flavours on the trippy The Indigo Streak, which sees the band flex their song writing in majestic style.

It’s very much the sum of the parts that make GVF such a special outfit. It’s impossible not to be hypnotised by Josh’s vocal range, but that enchantment can mask the other qualities that lurk within the GVF surface.

Jake’s guitar playing is organic, fluid, and mature. Sam’s lush keyboards add layered textures, rarely prominent but always providing necessary additions. And his bass playing that locks in with Danny’s steady drumming provide a reliable anchor for the band to provide a wholehearted and passionate performance.

At this point, it’s hard to see when GVF’s journey will cease. One listen to Starcatcher is all you need to know that this remarkable band are likely to continue their relentless march to the very top.

A unique and remarkable album, the world is there for the taking. Watch them grab it with both hands.

Greta Van Fleet play four UK dates in Novemnber on their Starcatcher World Tour. Tickets are available from here.

november

14nov7:15 pmGreta Van Fleet | LondonOVO Wembley Arena

16nov7:00 pmGreta Van Fleet | Dublin3Arena

19nov7:00 pmGreta Van Fleet | ManchesterAO Arena

20nov7:00 pmGreta Van Fleet | GlasgowOVO Hydro

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