Lava / Republic Records
rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Fate Of The Faithful
02. Waited All Your Life
03. The Falling Sky
04. Sacred The Thread
05. Runway Blues
06. The Indigo Streak
07. Frozen Light
08. The Archer
09. Meeting The Master
10. Farewell For Now

Frankenmuth, Michigan, may be an odd place to birth the next great rock band, but that's the motherland of GRETA VAN FLEET. The band — which brings together three brothers in vocalist Josh Kiszka, guitarist Jake Kiszka and bass player/keyboardist Sam Kiszka, as well as drummer Danny Wagner — surfaced in 2017 with their debut single, "Highway Tune". That track quickly became a major hit, topping both the Billboard U.S. Mainstream Rock and Active Rock charts that fall for a month.

At that point, GRETA VAN FLEET didn't even have a proper album out. They released two EPs in 2017: "Black Smoke Rising" and "From the Fires". Then, they released their debut full-length, "Anthem of the Peaceful Army", the following year.

Now, GRETA VAN FLEET are on their third studio album, "Starcatcher", which marks their follow-up to 2021's "The Battle at Garden's Gate". To say it's a much-anticipated record is an understatement, as GRETA VAN FLEET have build a worldwide following that waits with urgency upon each release.

Listening through "Starcatcher" it becomes apparent that this set is crafted to appeal to GRETA VAN FLEET's bread-and-butter audience of classic rock fans. "Fate of the Faithful" kicks the record off, offering Josh's vocals ringing with the hollow reverb and nostalgic vocals of a Robert Plant or Billy Squier. "Faith of the Faithful" is a mellow, trippy tune that could have fit alongside LED ZEPPELIN or PINK FLOYD back in the day.

Like "Fate of the Faithful", "Starcatcher" is packed with mid-tempo rockers that have a definite 1970's swagger. "Waited All Your Life", "Sacred the Thread" and "Frozen Light" all share the same character and tempo, without sounding totally repetitive. Of those, "Frozen Light" is a highlight, with big, swelling guitars that seem to hug the listener's ears, alongside Josh's echoing vocals.

While mid-tempo anthems rule on "Starcatcher", GRETA VAN FLEET did make room for some ballads; "Meeting the Master" is one of the strongest songs on the set. Here, Josh sings pensively about it being time for him to meet his Master and go home. The song's sparce backings highlight Josh's smooth tenor, sparkling with goosebump-eliciting grace.

Elsewhere, "Runaway Blues" and "The Indigo Streak" offer much needed up-tempo rockers, with jammy guitars and faster-paced rhythms. Not that these songs are super-fast, but they have an energy and quick pace that's not there on the rest of the album.

With a mix of different tempos and flavors, "Starcatcher" is GRETA VAN FLEET's most diverse album to date. It also really shows off Josh's vocals, edging him further into "legendary frontman" territory. Sure, "Starcatcher" is pure retro nostalgia, but that's GRETA VAN FLEET's brand, and with their level of success, why change it? "Starcatcher" continues to define GRETA VAN FLEET as one of the biggest bands of the moment, and it's a worthy third album in their ever-growing discography.

Author: Dom Lawson
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