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Jane - Together CD (album) cover

TOGETHER

Jane

 

Heavy Prog

3.70 | 138 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The music of Jane didn't exactly escape my attention in the 1970s, when they were one of the biggest acts in Germany and I was an ardent teen Proghead with a taste for European imports. But the Krautrock puritan in me wasn't moved at the time by their derivative Anglophilic sound...why listen to a continental PINK FLOYD / PROCOL HARUM copycat band, with so many better and more challenging groups to choose from?

But at the suggestion of a kindred Progarchivist I decided to relax my skepticism after all these years...reluctantly, I should admit, but impressed after repeated plays by the single-minded drive of their 1972 debut album, an achievement the band would never again quite match.

Of course the German Rock scene wouldn't have been the same without "A Saucerful of Secrets" to guide it. But while the more cosmic proggers east of the Rhine River were busy trying to decipher the secrets, bands like Jane were content with just the saucer, rarely aspiring to the same interstellar musical overdrive. The two-note bass guitar intro to "Daytime", the opening track of the band's first album, recalls (and not by accident) the identical ostinato driving "Careful With That Axe, Eugene", but it's only a token cosmetic loan, and quickly discarded.

The next few minutes set the pace for an album-long grind of heavy guitar blues and Hammond organ soul, played at a relentless tempo and featuring one of the most distinctive lead vocalists of any era, the awesome Bernd Pulst. His performance can still be an acquired taste, sounding not unlike Janis Joplin on a really, really bad day, forced to sing around a mouthful of marbles. But to me his voice remains one of the album's strongest attributes, perfectly matched to the grungy organ and macho guitar solos. Nobody here was a virtuoso, but the primitive rhythms, simple melodies, and uncomplicated jamming can still be effective when played at the intended volume: eleven on a Spinal Tap scale. And when the band kicks into high gear in the latter half of 'Hangman" it's almost impossible not to plug in your air guitar and swagger alongside them on the stage of your imagination.

It's easy in retrospect to hear what made Jane a superstar band in a country eager for English and American cultural residue. Their first album is worthless as Progressive Rock, but that was never its aim. This is music for the sawdust covered concrete floors of bygone rock arenas...no laser light distractions or dry-ice effects, just loud music from large amplifiers, performed with unwashed vigor and enthusiasm.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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