The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Album review: Greta Van Fleet’s growing popularity and latest “Starcatcher” album

4 min read
Greta Van Fleet band on main stage with several columns of fire jetting out of the stage during a performance.

Greta Van Fleet on the main stage of the Capital One Arena playing an extended version of “The Archer”. | Charlie Li, The Weekly Ringer

Life Editor

The band Greta Van Fleet has been gathering a massive following since the release of their debut single, “Highway Tune” in 2017 that reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart back in September of 2017. 

On July 21, Greta Van Fleet released their fourth studio album, “Starcatcher,” for the world to hear. The band also announced a world tour with a plethora of other popular rock bands, such as Silversun Pickups, Surf Curse, Mt. Joy, Black Honey and Metallica. 

The band is composed of three brothers—Josh Kiszka, Jake Kiszka and Sam Kiszka—and their close-friend Danny Wagner; they’ve been unstoppable in the rock scene.

Compared to their most recent album, “The Battle at Garden’s Gate,” “Starcatcher” is stylistically distinct. Their work tends to be compared to and criticized for its similarity to Led Zeppelin. The new album has morphed into an epic storytelling in the form of music, starting out with, “Fate Of The Faithful,” which is nearly five minutes long and radiates a holy sensation through Josh Kiszka’s angelic, heaven-reaching voice. This song sets the scene for the rest of the album that elicits the similar feelings throughout.

The second song of the album, “Waited All Your Life,” has narrative lyrics that encourage the listener to sink into the album as though welcoming the audience into their home. Beginning with a mellow tone, the music’s abrupt changes caused by Josh Kiszka’s belting melodies quickly transforms the pace of the song that makes you fall into a trance.

“The Falling Sky” is one of my favorite songs from the album, as its upbeat, lurching tempo makes you want to jam out and try to reach the great heights of the lead singer’s voice. The climax of the song gives off a powerful aura that turns the bass up to the max, even if you don’t touch the dial.

“Sacred The Thread” is a song that matches the peace you feel in the calm before the storm. The song is slower than the others, and because of its over five-minute runtime, it pushes you deeper into the trance. At this point, I have goosebumps caused by its abstract oxymorons and whimsical tunes. 

Next is “Runaway Blues,” and it’s exactly as it sounds. Lasting for a minute and seventeen seconds, the bursts of pure explosive energy pass too quickly, especially compared to the sizable length of many of the other songs on the album. It’s the perfect transmission between songs and leaves a lot of open room for live performances to improv. 

“The Indigo Streak’s” lyrics are an inspirational composition of searching for a higher goal. It promotes the indulgence of success and pursuing higher feats to beat out the past with the world watching. For a large majority of these songs, it can relate to the band’s growing success and popularity among audiences worldwide. 

Similar to most songs in this album, the melody of “Frozen Light” is a softer yet steady rock beat and is elevated once Josh’s voice is introduced in a similar tone until the climax which introduces a harsh transition into a heavier set of bass. Although the duration of the songs in this album almost all exceed four minutes, the lyric count is still quite low. With that being said, they are provided though in a methodical and intentional way in every way they are played and placed. 

“The Archer” is a depiction of the elements surrounding vengeance and justice using the vision of an archer firing a vengeful bow with arrows of justice. While I wouldn’t say that the song is a sing-a-long, it’s similar to a more powerful narrative song that has the same purpose as, “Eleanor Rigby” from The Beatles—the interpretation of the song is left to the readers to hear a purposeful story while rocking out.

“Meeting The Master” is another one of my favorites from the Starcatcher album as it starts out with quite a soothing melody, but quickly switches tempo and gives off some serious rockstar vibes. The lyrics are straightforward and communicate about “meeting the master” and seems somewhat culty depending on how you look at the lyrics but overall, definitely a banger in the album.

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle, “Farewell For Now,” a fitting ending for the album and is also simple for live shows. It gives very warm and campfire vibes for an ecstatic album to tour on. At the time of writing this article, I have already gone to a Greta Van Fleet concert on the 11th of this month at the Capitol One Arena in D.C; it was nothing short of beautiful and angelic. Hearing a band live is a completely different experience than listening to them just on a streaming platform like Spotify. After the concert, I quote myself, “my ears have been blessed”. After completing a concert at “the world’s most famous arena,” Madison Square Garden, Greta Van Fleet will continue their tour with five more cities in the US before heading abroad to the world.