Haven’t we been here before? 2006 may feel like a long time ago to some, but weren’t we just hailing Wolfmother as the next great rock band, the saviors that will resurrect rock from its repeated dying breaths? Oh how we compared them to Led Zeppelin, and oh how they were lauded. You recall: Wolfmother was a lot like Zeppelin, but they were also their own thing! Finally, something to put a stop to that EDM crap that was cropping up everywhere! Real rock is alive and well, people!
The problem is, I can’t tell you one person who listens to Wolfmother now. I’m sure those people exist, I guess. Maybe the band’s moms.
And here we are all over again. Only this time it’s with a Southern tinge (think a dash of Black Crowes), which is all to say that this shit’s getting old.
They seem wholly manufactured for you, rock lover.
If you’ve listened to Greta Van Fleet and not immediately thought about the obvious 70s rock n’ roll comparisons, you’re likely deaf. That’s no insult to the hearing impaired. After listening to Greta Van Fleet, I kind of wish I hadn’t heard them. They’re just that derivative.
With all of their heaping praises bestowed upon them (and it’s been a lot), Greta Van Fleet’s existence almost implies that the only way to truly “rock” is to sound like those bands of yesteryear. A dire warning comes from the critical love: hey bands, don’t try anything original, never mind groundbreaking, if you want to make it as a guitar-driven rock n’ roll act. (Has no one heard of the Black Diamond Heavies?) But Van Fleet solely offer a paint-by-number version of rock; they’ve little imagination.
Take their song “Flower Power” for example. (Or don’t. I wouldn’t blame you.) If that’s not a John Bonham drumbeat to kick off the rhythm section seconds into the song, I’ll eat my keyboard. Then the vocals begin and you realize that you’re listening to a tribute band and not so much a darling of the editors at Rolling Stone.
And “Highway Tune”: it starts with its best John Lee Hooker riff, but quickly devolves into “Immigrant Song.” Yawn.
If these guys aren’t trying (quite desperately, it seems) to mimic Zeppelin and the 70s heyday of rock, then it’s even worse: they’ve no idea of their own history. Either way, it’s bad.
In all, it boils down not so much to the band itself. After all, they’re composed of kids (the oldest members, Jake and Josh Kiszka, are 21). It’s the critics and older rockers, like Elton John, who’s recently raved about them, that are claiming these dudes as the new gods of rock, the best thing since, well, Wolfmother.
I don’t think it matters that the likes of both Robert Plant and Tom Hanks adore them. I’ve had that shoved down my throat too many times to mention. I think I’ll stick with a band that has something new to say.