When Greta Van Fleet exploded on the music scene earlier this year, there probably wasn’t a conversation about the band that didn’t include the words “Led Zeppelin.” And while the group (brothers Josh, Jake and Sam Kizka, and family friend, Danny Wagner) would usually downplay the comparisons in interviews, the resemblance was indeed striking. Lead vocalist, Josh, sounds remarkably like Robert Plant, Jake’s guitar riffing can definitely be called Jimmy Page-like, Sam doubles on bass and keyboard, as did John Paul Jones, and Wagner hits the kit with the fury of John Bonham.
Following the runaway success of GVF’s debut EP Black Smoke Rising, the band will expand on that with four new songs, to be combined with the four on Black Smoke Rising. The resulting eight-song double EP is entitled From The Fires.
The four new songs are two originals and two covers, and these new tunes show how much GVF is really capable of and how deep the talent pool runs. When people listen to the new tracks, gone will be the Zeppelin comparisons, replaced with admiration on how they take the influences of 60’s and 70’s rock to forge their own sound.
The first of the new original songs is Edge of Darkness, with the opening riff from Jake’s guitar grinding like 40 grit sandpaper on a clean block of pinewood. The guitar/amp tone combination is sweet late 60’s classic rock heaven. Josh kicks in his opening vocal line with a matching raspiness to his singing that perfectly fits the song’s title. Midway, in the bridge of the song, Jake and Sam match guitar and bass lines, leading to a blistering guitar solo that takes the song to the end.
The second original is Talk on the Street. Again, Jake’s guitar drives the song, but this time with a frenetic shuffling riff that starts fast and never lets up through the entire song.
The first of the two covers are A Change is Gonna Come, written in 1964 by soul singer Sam Cook. GVF’s version starts simply with three minor guitar chords, with no hint of the power that’s about to come. Josh comes in singing, backed by lush instrumentation of acoustic and electric guitars, as well as keyboards. In the bridge, a backing vocal gospel choir is added, providing an equal, dramatic counter to Josh’s impassioned singing. GVF’s interpretation of Cook’s classic is very different, but so amazing that it will give goosebumps, (and maybe a few tears) so powerful and emotional it is.
The other cover is Meet on the Ledge, by the British folk-rock band Fairport Convention. Give GVF credit for not choosing an obvious song to cover. (How many people have even heard of Fairport Convention, let alone the song?) Many bands choose hit songs to cover because of the instant recognition factor, but that’s what is special about Greta Van Fleet. They, at a remarkably young age, have taken their influences from the decade of 1965 to 1975 to forge their own sound. They sound like no other band today, and given their rocket ride up the charts, people are obviously digging it.