Greta Van Fleet

Starcatcher review | Greta Van Fleet are Led Zeppelin incarnate on third studio album

Josh Kiszka’s vocals are Greta Van Fleet’s prized possession on the Michigan rocker’s third studio album Starcatcher.


There’s a sense that when you’ve heard a couple of Greta Van Fleet songs, maybe you’ve heard them all. Or at least, you’ll come to know what to expect as the American four-piece have become a force in the live scene thanks to their ability to fill the hole that the old classic rock bands no longer assume. They’re the new nostalgia act; a legacy act taking the shape of a new, sparky band. Whilst hard to define, their place in music is solid and ever-growing.

From the first second to the very end, Greta Van Fleet still sound like Led Zeppelin. It’s a comment that’s stuck to them since their earliest releases as 2017 track ‘Highway Tune’ could be plucked directly from Led Zeppelin II, even down to the ‘Whole Lotta Love’-esque opening wail.

But that’s not a critique. Sure, if you’re not a classic rock fan, Greta Van Fleet won’t do it for you; you’ll find their lyrics pastiche, their instrumentals a bit mind-numbing, their dramatic outfits a bit much. But if any amount of that ‘60s romanticism for the ‘good-old-days’ of music got under your skin, the band can provide the perfect backing for your daydreams. And on their fourth album, Starcatcher, this has all been kicked-up to an even higher gear.


The biggest link to Led Zeppelin comes in the form of the highest compliment and most captivating feature of the band: Josh Kiszka’s jaw-dropping voice. Seemingly limitless when it comes to range, never dropping its power even when climbing to dizzy highs of upper octaves, it’s these vocals that gained the band their most notable viral hits ‘Light My Love’ and ‘Heat Above’.

And while Starcatcher does lack the stripped-back moments that lets his voice power forwards, it’s an utterly flawless performance throughout. That said, it seems like they’re relying on him slightly less. While still bringing a certain prowess, Josh’s voice isn’t a crutch this time round as the lyricism and instrumentals level-up in quality to match him. Rather than being a band built around a golden voice, tracks like ‘Sacred The Thread’ more than prove this is now a golden band as well.

But nostalgia still rules supreme. When ‘Runway Blues’ blasts to life, you’d be excused for thinking you’d accidentally tripped and fallen into a Rock Classics playlist, or stumbled upon one of those wild jam recordings from a long-lost The Doors session. Four albums in, maybe you would think the band would’ve moved onto a different era, or started to explore different influences? You could say that single ‘Meeting The Master’ is as close as they get to that, swapping the electrics for a more pared back acoustic moment, but all we really get here is a trade out of Led Zeppelin for Jefferson Airplane or The Byrds.

It’s still classic rock, but now with the acid-folk edge that coloured the hazy ends of the ‘60s when Manson reigned his terror and everyone got a bit scared and sick of it all. Then again, maybe this sound is also that of the same death knell as back then; maybe next up the band will drop into some ‘70s and ‘80s sonics, pick up some synths and get a bit experimental.

It’s easy to give them a bad rap. Greta Van Fleet are undeniably ruled by an obsession with the past, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a future. We’ve hit a point where the band of the ‘60s that so many of us obsess over are either dead or a bit rubbish now.

But while the pop culture obsession with the era stays high, tracks like ‘Fate Of The Faithful’ or ‘The Falling Sky’ can give you a soundtrack to the fixation thanks to a modern band that are touring and bringing that energy to stages – without any disappointment or O.A.Ps in sight.

Rock is, and was always meant to be, played live, and maybe we ought to just be thankful we have a current band carrying on the lineage of incredible American guitar bands while they’re young and nimble enough to properly rock out.

Who cares if they sound just like Led Zeppelin? Wouldn’t you love to go watch Led Zepp in their hay-day? Well, now you can – or thereabouts…

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