Release Date: Apr 16, 2021
Record label: EMI
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Redemption Around the turn of the millennium, nostalgia rock bands started springing out of the ground unexpectedly. Jet and Wolfmother were the first offenders - er, I mean, instances. Jet wanted nothing more than to be the new Beatles/Rolling Stones on 2003's Get Born, and Wolfmother might have actually thought they were Led Zeppelin at some point on their eponymous 2005 debut.
Although it's never really been proven in any quantifiable way, a recent narrative has emerged that show business favours music that has been written and produced to favour the algorithms on streaming services. It's a fun little conspiracy theory for people who can't quite come to terms with the fact that no one likes their band, but even if it's true in some way, what's the big deal? When it comes to music recommendations, an algorithm is far better than any music writer. After all, computer servers aren't trying to get on the guestlist, buddy up with publicists or angle for key follow backs on Twitter.
The press materials for Greta Van Fleet's second album refer to the group using "rock 'n' roll's foundational elements to build an entirely new sonic blueprint." Admittedly, these aren't the band's own words, but suffice it to say there is entirely nothing new about the proceedings on The Battle at Garden's Gate. And, at over an hour's running time, what's contained here is much too long, particularly given the slog of the final third of the album. The final nine minutes of which is given over to a bloated opus, "The Weight of Dreams." Dreams in this case are apparently very heavy and shot through with overwrought guitar solos.
Whither goest thou, Greta Van Fleet, into the inky night? The Michigan band are often the subject of derision, yet for all the negative reviews, slightly cruel memes, and the endless, endless Hobbit comparisons still they survive, and still they thrive. Album No. 2 is bigger, broader, and heavier than before, the work of a group of musicians who long ago swore to an idea, and certainly don't see any sense in backing down now that the stadiums are set to re-open.
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