Greta Van Fleet - Starcatcher (White/Glitter Vinyl)

Regular price $ 39.99

Starcatcher doesn't find Greta Van Fleet returning to their roots -- that'd be a premature move, they're only a half-decade into their career -- so much as making a bid for street cred: they're stripping away the studio gloss so they can stand on their merits as a rock & roll band. Smartly, the group hired Dave Cobb, the Nashville musician who made his name as one of the sharpest and earthiest producers in Americana. Don't take Cobb's presence as a sign that the pride of Frankenmuth has suddenly discovered downhome roots. Cobb's résumé is littered with such credits as Sammy Hagar, Slash, and Whiskey Myers, so he's on firm footing with Greta Van Fleet. He treats them like he treats any other band: the basic tracks are bashed out live in the studio, then given minimal overdubs for coloring. It's the polar opposite of Greg Kurstin, the studio maven who gave The Battle at Garden's Gate an appealing gloss that enhanced the fantastical aspects of the group's committed Led Zeppelin tribute. The lack of polish on Starcatcher does make Greta Van Fleet seem leaner, but not meaner: there's some brawn in the rhythms, particularly in the furious blast of "Runway Blues," but it often feels like all the power on the album is produced by pushing the levels to 11, a trick that means the trebly guitars slash like a razor. The volume isn't the only element on Starcatcher that lives in the red. All of the compositions are much too much, lurching from riff to riff as if the group wanted to cram each cut with as many ideas as possible. This is where Cobb's hands-off approach is a detriment. He may be able to capture the sound of a band playing in a room but in this case, it feels like the room is a rehearsal studio, with the band stuck playing rough drafts at maximum volume. A bit of tightening and a bit of polish would've gone a long way here.

On White/Glitter Vinyl

1 Fate of the Faithful 4:46
2 Waited All Your Life 4:26
3 The Falling Sky 3:38
4 Sacred the Thread 5:21
5 Runway Blues 1:17
6 The Indigo Streak 4:04
7 Frozen Light 4:32
8 The Archer 5:00
9 Meeting the Master 5:12
10 Farewell for Now 4:28