By Noah Mizer
After the release of their debut EP, Black Smoke Rising, Michigan-based rock band Greta Van Fleet has been named Best New Artist at the 2017 Loudwire Music Awards and has received praise from music fans across North America. The excitement surrounding the band has resulted in a sold out tour. On Nov. 10, the band released its double EP, From The Fires, which consists of four new tracks and four tracks from their previous EP.
The quartet consists of Sam Kiska (bass), Danny Wagner (drums), and twins Josh Kiska (vocals) and Jake Kiska (guitar). Together, they are known as Greta Van Fleet, named after the music teacher in their hometown of Frankenmuth. After the release of their first EP, the band signed with Lava Records and continued touring around North America and Europe.
Tracks on the new EP, From The Fires, express the theme of today’s youth overcoming struggles facing the world. This theme is shown in lyrics of multiple tracks, the most prominent being “Black Smoke Rising” which contains the lyrics, “And the black smoke rises / From the fires we’ve been told / It’s the new age crisis / And we will stand up in the cold / Stand up in the cold.”
The theme of the album helps the band stand out amongst other well-known artists in mainstream music. Greta Van Fleet’s work does not reflect materialistic values or highlight the use of drugs and alcohol. It is purely about the potential this generation holds, while also addressing problems everyone faces in their lifetime, such as unrequited love.
The EP itself is rather creative, because it differs from pop. Instead of catchy choruses and an overly computerized beat, Greta Van Fleet has guitar riffs and heavy drums, but also poses similarities to the rock band Led Zeppelin. This is because both lead singers have a wide vocal range and are able to hold long, high notes throughout their songs. Those nostalgic for the ‘70s find this aspect of Greta Van Fleet to be most appealing, while others simply brand it as rip off. However it’s viewed, the band has too much talent musically and lyrically to be ignored. Since the oldest members of the band are 21, it is still expected to see more originality in future work, when the band has had time to develop its own voice and style.
Throughout its songs, Greta Van Fleet has proved its musical ability. Lead singer Josh Kiska’s high-flying vocals are not to be dismissed, especially after being compared to those of Led Zeppelin’s frontman Robert Plant. The band’s lyrics are rather melodic, especially from their track “Flower Power” which highlights the band’s blues influences. “And as the night begins to die / We are the morning birds that sing against the sky.” Jake Kiska’s incredible guitar riffs can be noted on songs such as “Highway Tune” and “Talk On The Street”, as well as other tracks. The fast paced guitar and Josh Kiska’s quick delivery of lyrics keeps each of the band’s songs upbeat and energized.
The four new tracks from From The Fires EP provide a great continuation of where the band had left off. Fans of rock will celebrate in the band’s work, whether they are just hearing Greta Van Fleet for the first time or if they had listened to it previously. Those still asking the question “Who will save rock and roll?” need look no further, because the answer lies in this Michigan quartet.