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Jane - Here We Are CD (album) cover

HERE WE ARE

Jane

 

Heavy Prog

3.39 | 77 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Jane's 1972 debut would sit comfortably on the same shelf with the earliest efforts of other stalwart German acts like GROBSCHNITT, ELOY and SATIN WHALE, all (mostly) unpretentious rock-and-rollers with a heavy emphasis on organ and guitar. Their sophomore album, released a year later, was a little more adventurous, but for a group like Jane that wasn't necessarily an improvement. To these ears their less challenging but harder rocking early work sounds better in retrospect than some of the band's later stabs at musical sophistication. But this album at least found a decent point of balance between their limited abilities and loftier ambitions.

Missing here is the dogged intensity of the first LP, and the singular vocals (to say the least) of Bernd Pulst, whose voice sounded exactly like you'd expect from someone named Bernd Pulst. The merely adequate interim singing of drummer Peter Panka leaves no impression whatsoever, good or bad, and as if to compensate for the resulting loss of identity the band made attempts to refine the music itself, adding a Mellotron here and a chorus of female backup singers there, even including an occasional touch of acoustic nuance, in songs like "Dandelion".

The writing too was more melodic in a primitive sort of way, with the faux-strings in "Like a Queen" and "Out in the Rain" bringing a little symphonic depth to Jane's typically beefy sound. But in keeping with what should have been the band's official motto (Keep It Simple, Stupid) the music shone brightest when dragged through a muck of instrumental blues-rock behind Werner Nadolny's grinding Hammond organ and the assertive lead guitar of Klaus Hess. The adrenalin really kicks in during the album-ending title track, closing the set with a suitable bang (although the song itself ends on a curious whimper).

As popular as they were in the 1970s, Jane was always an easy band for discriminating Progheads (and especially Krautrockers) to dismiss, as I did for many years. But after several decades the same music, in all its turgid sub-Floydian heaviness, can be just as easy to appreciate, not least for its nostalgic pull toward a lost age of rock guitar heroics. Sure it's uncomplicated stuff. But I'll take the authentic sow's ear of their first two albums over the imitation silk purse of the band's proggier efforts any day.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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