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Jane - Lady CD (album) cover

LADY

Jane

 

Heavy Prog

3.11 | 52 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Hanover quartet of Jane was beginning to sound more American than German by 1975, yet another reason why Krautrock elitists have always ignored them. The Kosmische Musik geek inside me wants to likewise turn up his nose, but after belatedly taking some time to explore their music in depth his teenage garage-band doppelgänger simply won't allow it.

The band's fourth studio album saw yet another line-up shuffle, this time arguably to their benefit. New vocalist (and keyboard player) Gottfried Janko possessed a more distinctive singing voice than drummer Peter Panka, something a prosaic outfit like Jane desperately needed (imagine CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, after years of expensive therapy). Janko's keyboard playing didn't have the same raw vitality as his predecessor (and eventual replacement) Werner Nadolny, but it was a moot point: the bedrock of Jane remained guitarist Klaus Hess, still in good form despite the weaker material here.

The music itself was nowhere near the creative acme of Progressive Rock, despite the occasional synthesizer squirt. And the songwriting is rarely strong enough to be entirely convincing four decades later. As usual the band was at its best when flexing its instrumental muscles and sticking to the riffs, as heard in the "Midnight Mover" jam, not coincidentally also the longest cut off the album. And the intro to the title track is an air-guitarist's fantasy come true: one of those quintessential '70s anthems able to drive an acne-damaged high school dropout to headphone ecstasy.

It would be easy for a musical snob like me to simply accept bands like Jane as a guilty pleasure, and move on. But isn't that akin to damning them with faint praise? And why feel any guilt at all? Jane never quite met the ideals of Progressive Rock (transcendence, virtuosity, so forth), but as a boilerplate hard-rocking ensemble with higher-than-average aspirations they were close to peerless in their mid-'70s heyday. And Progheads know better than anyone how to live with a guilty pleasure: by ditching the pointless guilt and unearthing the buried pleasure.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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