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JANE

Heavy Prog • Germany


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Jane biography
Playing a melodious synthesis of symphonic hard rock that has occcasionally been compared to Pink Floyd, Hanover Krautrockers Jane can trace their origins back to the late sixties psychedelic band Justice Of Peace. Releasing a single Save Me/War, the band featured future Jane members Peter Panka on vocals, Klaus Hess on bass and Werner Nadolny on saxophone. By late 1970 Justice Of Peace had dissolved and regrouped as Jane with Panka on vocals and drums, Hess switching to guitar and Nadolny assuming keyboards. Charly Maucher joined on bass and power vocalist Berndt Pulst completed the band in April 1971 and their first LP "Together" was released in the spring of 1972. Singing in broken English, which helped create passionate effects, a heavy expressive bluesy sound emerged with blistering Les Paul solos and slabs of Hammond organ backdrops that was consolidated by Peter Panka's almost hypnotic oscillating drum beats that would charcterize Jane's music for almost 40 years. "Together" was warmly recieved by the German music press including Sound magazine who had declared Pulst it's vocalist of the year for 1971.

The first of an almost continual succesion of lineup changes occurred later that year with Pulst departing and Maucher bowing out for health reasons. Former Justice Of Peace guitarist Wolfgang Krantz joined on bass and guitar with Panka and Hess sharing the vocals which displayed even more lethargic and stoned out sonic timbres. Applying their proven formula, their 1973 follow up "Here We Are" was somewhat more harmonious with the the addition of synthesizers that provided spacier atmospheres and produced a fan favourite in the form of the sombre rock ballad "Out In The Rain" . Shortly after the album's release Nadolny left to form a new band Lady with the recovered Maucher returning on bass and vocals. Jane's third endeavour, simply entitled Jane III, was a scorching guitar blowout and with Krantz on second guitar. The void left by departing keyboardist Nadolny was adequately compensated for with two dueling guitarists as demonstrated by an impressive in-studio jam entitled " Jane Session" as well as a spaced out extended track "Comin' Again" featuring Maucher's harder edged vocals. Not long after the release of Jane III, Maucher and Krantz departed, eventually forming Harlis on the fledgling Sky Records label. In May 1974 Jane rejuevenated itself by absorbing two members from the recently disbanded hard rock band Dull Knife with Martin Hesse ...
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JANE shows & tickets


  • Jane + Peter Pankas Jane at Steinbruch, Duisburg on 22 Nov 2014

JANE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JANE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 96 ratings
Together
1972
3.35 | 53 ratings
Here We Are
1973
2.79 | 37 ratings
Jane III
1974
3.05 | 32 ratings
Lady
1975
3.34 | 49 ratings
Fire, Water, Earth and Air
1976
3.53 | 39 ratings
Between Heaven and Hell
1977
2.89 | 23 ratings
Age Of Madness
1978
2.76 | 15 ratings
Sign No. 9
1979
3.03 | 12 ratings
Jane
1980
2.06 | 12 ratings
Germania
1982
1.40 | 11 ratings
Beautiful Lady
1986
1.16 | 6 ratings
Resurrection
1996
2.58 | 10 ratings
Genuine
2002
1.70 | 8 ratings
Shine On
2003
2.60 | 7 ratings
Voices
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
proceed with memories ...
2008
3.00 | 9 ratings
Traces
2009
3.58 | 19 ratings
Eternity
2011
3.80 | 5 ratings
Kuxan Suum
2011

JANE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.98 | 37 ratings
Jane At Home Live
1976
3.60 | 5 ratings
Jane Live '89
1990
3.02 | 6 ratings
Live 2002
2002
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live at Meta's
2007

JANE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 5 ratings
Tribute To Peter Panka
2008

JANE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Waiting For The Sunshine
1977
3.00 | 1 ratings
Crowns
1977

JANE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

JANE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fire, Water, Earth and Air  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.34 | 49 ratings

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Fire, Water, Earth and Air
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A purist (and what else is a true Proghead if not an Apollonian purist?) might tell you these guys had no business sitting at the Progressive Rock banquet table. If you listen to their albums leading up to this 1976 epiphany, you won't find a band in the Symphonic Rock or Jazz Fusion or Avant- Garde tradition (and certainly not from the more seditious culture of Krautrock). But at least they tried. And unless we're misleading our children it's the effort that counts, isn't it?

For this album, the band's most ambitious to date (ambition being a relative term for such an earthbound collective), Jane raised its PINK FLOYD banner higher than ever, with the tempos, the melodies, and especially the vocals all but screaming, "Wish We Were There". Jane might have started life as a gang of rock 'n' roll delinquents, but they fell eagerly in step with Progressive music trends in the mid '70s, and better late (almost too late, in 1976) than never.

Clearly the band members had done some homework, and learned their lessons well. The album opens with an actual Classical Rock fanfare, en route to an extended Klaus Hess guitar solo: quintessential Jane, and still exhilarating. And it's a concept album too, recalling Peter Sinfield's employment of the four Platonic elements in his lyric for the KING CRIMSON tune "In the Wake of Poseidon", with each 'movement' cued, somewhat obviously, by the appropriate sound effect.

The album may be secondhand Floyd, but Jane was a more unified band in 1976, when the Floyd was already showing symptoms of creative malaise. Jane's music at the time was also far more melodic, if not quite so elemental as the title suggested...diluted perhaps (like a lot of Prog Rock) by too much air and not enough fire. And the lyrics, when audible, never rose above the standard give-me-some-sweet-lovin' plateau of '70s banality. But this was the more consistent of the band's proggier efforts, less self-consciously ornate than its popular follow-up "Between Heaven and Hell". Over the album's 33-minute flow of more-or-less continuous music, the group walked a precarious tightrope between the artless guitar rock of their earlier recordings and the extended Prog cosmetics of the later LP, without ever missing a step.

Having only just heard it for the first time (on the recommendation of a Fellow Traveler in these Archives), I'm standing up for the maligned 3-star rating with a possibly too conservative trio of sympathetic stars here. The album is hardly a classic, but when measured by the yardstick of nostalgia it's still a classic slice of the 1970s.

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 Lady  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.05 | 32 ratings

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Lady
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by 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.

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 Here We Are  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.35 | 53 ratings

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Here We Are
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by 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.

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 Together  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.68 | 96 ratings

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Together
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by 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.

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 Live 2002 by JANE album cover Live, 2002
3.02 | 6 ratings

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Live 2002
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

2 stars Seeing as how Klaus Hess is not involved, and that Jane have acquired the 'Peter Panka' prefix I can only assume that there is either two versions of the band on the road, or that Klaus and Peter have had a dispute as to who owns the name. Certainly when they were building the reputation of the band in the Seventies as one of the most important German rock bands they were the leaders with many hired hands, but now Peter is there with three others and Klaus not in sight. In fact they have just been touring with Birth Control who is another mainstay from that genre.

Recorded in Germany, there is no doubting the love that the crowd have for what the band are doing. But as a live album it contains one of my pet dislikes, namely the way that it fades in and out. I know that it is rarely totally live but I like to imagine that it is. As for the music itself, I have to say that for the most part it is pretty ordinary and there is little here to get excited about. That it is well played and produced is never in doubt, and the crowd just lapped it up, but I doubt that they would have got the same reaction in the UK.

This tour was to promote 'Genuine' which was also released on SPV earlier in the year but having heard this that is not an album that I am going to rush out to discover. If you are a fan then this will be indispensable but that is certainly not the case if you are not.

Originally appeared in Feedback #71, Dec 02

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 Jane III  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.79 | 37 ratings

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Jane III
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by João Paulo

3 stars I love seventies sound of progressive music but this album don't have nothing special and new to Germany music of this time. To me, it's a comercial album with some psichedelic parts very comun in lot of bands. I believe that we can listen very good musicians but not inspired do make this work. Lirycs are in English, universal language for seal outside the original countrys. We can listen some calm parts with some calm guitar's and other's in Hard Rock vein but the global album don't have harmony. Boring when we compare with other Germany band's of this time. I don't listen the other Jane albuns but Jane III just have some nice parts to listen. 3 stars for the good parts

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 Jane At Home Live by JANE album cover Live, 1976
3.98 | 37 ratings

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Jane At Home Live
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Alongside the same years expansive concept album 'Fire, Water, Earth & Air' and considered by fans as the high watermark of Jane's lengthy career, 1976's double-sided concert album 'Live At Home' finds the Teutonic icons triumphantly blasting out a ballsy set filled with the group's trademark psych-tinged prog medleys, spaced-out angular rockers and Pink Floyd-ish soundscapes. To all extents and purposes a greatest hits set rounding up the best of their first five studio efforts, 'Live At Home' basically puts a sense of closure over Jane's prolific - and best - period, their early days. Any post 1976 albums should be treated with caution by those just starting to explore Jane's discography, though the opposite is also true; anything released before this definitive live album is well worth checking out. Featuring a near-classic line-up of Klaus Hess(guitar, vocals), Martin Hesse(bass, vocals), Peter Panka(drums, vocals) and former Eloy member Manfred Wieczorke(keyboards), 'Live At Home' shows just how Powerful Jane could be in the live arena, something that shouldn't come as a real surprise considering that through the latter half of the 1970s they were one of the top live draws in Germany, selling millions of records in the process. As well as rattling through most of 'Fire, Water, Earth & Air', there is also an iconic - and lengthy - version of the groups mystical opus 'Windows', some scintillating guitar work adorning the blues-tinged 'Lady' and a truly mesmerising delivery of the twelve-minute rock odyssey 'Hangman'. Maybe at times Jane's influences become a bit too obvious, though despite their obvious debt to, amongst(many) others, the likes of Pink Floyd(whom many an over-zealous fan has compared them to) the group's bluesy brand of spacey rock 'n' roll seems almost perfectly suited to the live setting. A fluid, slickly- delivered album, 'Live At Home' is the sound of a group hit peak form.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Here We Are  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.35 | 53 ratings

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Here We Are
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Tagged by over-enthusiastic die-hards as 'Germany's answer to Pink Floyd', Jane have carved a long and successful career out of their hardly-original brand of cosmic rock. Whilst fellow teutonic rockers Grobschnitt and Eloy have sailed a more overtly progressive course, Jane's sound has always been rooted in a more bluesy approach, blending meaty riffs, trippy lyrics and heady concepts into a series of enjoyable-if-hardly- outstanding albums that, stylistically speaking, owe much to a handful of British and American outfits. Jane's second album after the psychedelic rock of debut release 'Together', 'Here We Are' is basically more helpings from the same bowl, though if anything this sophomore effort sports a slightly mellower vibe. This is showcased on the album's ethereal opener 'Redskin', which features shimmering keyboards and strange, echoey vocals, and on the stand-out piece 'Waterfall', a textured, carefully-crafted rocker Imbued with an almost mystical atmosphere and some catchy guitar hooks. Nothing special then, but this should more than please the undemanding psych-rock aficianado's it's aimed at.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2O12

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 Together  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.68 | 96 ratings

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Together
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Very, very cool stuff. Jane is an extremely guitar driven band, and after reading that in their description I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to get into this album. Straight guitar- rock without a lot of variation has never been my cup of tea. Jane, however, infuses their music with a heavy dose of psychedelia and the playing on this album is so good that it's more than engaging enough to make up for a slight lack of variety in the song structures.

"Daytime" begins the album with some very faint bass notes, though organ is added almost immediately and drums and guitar enter almost immediately. From there the track develops into something that sounds like a cross between Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. It's a spaced- out, wide open track with vocals that work perfectly and (per my previous Hendrix comparison) some absolutely amazing guitar. The main guitar melody gives the track a slightly eastern feel, as well. In my mind "Daytime" is exactly how psychedelic heavy music should sound: lots of room for solos and jamming but never repetitive to the point of being boring. Stellar opener.

"Wind" is next, and it begins by launching into a Zeppelin-esque guitar part almost immediately and adding organ not soon after. After this introduction section (which goes on just a smidge too long), this motif is quickly switched into a much slower, heavier mode for the vocals to enter. The vocalist here is really excellent, belting out raw, powerful vocals that can stand up there with the best of them. Another awesome guitar solo comes next, and after that's done the song returns to its original riff and stays there until the end of the song.

"Try to Find" is much more of a ballad than the previous tracks. The first part of the track eschews electric guitars entirely in favor of calmer acoustic and relatively gentle vocals. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't last long and we're treated to another ripping guitar solo before transitioning into a bluesy section led by some more great vocals. Another solo section closes out the track with some of the best shredding on the album.

"Spain" begins with an (unsurprisingly) Spanish sounding guitar part. Before long the organ takes a rare leading moment and the song brings forth the best vocal melody thus far on the album. This gives way to a driving drum and bass part with some (surprise, surprise) guitar soloing over it. I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record here, but don't get the impression that this album is ever repetitive or uninteresting. While most of the songs are driven by the soloing, it's all absolutely brilliant and the guitarist manages to capture many different feels so that every song feels fresh and intriguing. "Spain" concludes with another great vocal section and an excellent guitar fade out. In my experience it's hard to make bluesy, guitar based rock interesting for ten minutes (in my opinion anyway), but "Spain" pulls it off brilliantly and it's a worthy epic.

The title track starts off on a calmer note after the frenetic finish of "Spain." For once the vocals are the dominating force over the guitar, though of course there's still a short solo at the end of the song. It really is a testament to Jane's songwriting and playing abilities that they were able to make so many songs cut from the same cloth and still have the album as a whole sound so passionate and powerful, and a big part of that is that this album features some of the best psychedelic guitar playing I've ever heard, bar none.

And on that note, "Hangman" features everything you could ever want from a trippy, acid- drenched guitar voyage. The song begins with a great vocal section, as has been the norm, but about 3 and a half minutes in the vocals stop, the bass picks up and the guitarist absolutely lets loose, which is all the more impressive given how well he's played thus far. Fully five minutes of amazing, psychedelic guitar make up the majority of the track before a brief vocal section closes out the album.

Overall, while this album is perhaps a little homogenous, it's one of the absolute best guitar albums I've ever heard, which is quite impressive given the surplus of great guitarists in prog music. In the past I've had a lot of problems getting into the kind of psychedelic bluesy rock this group plays, but Jane pulls it off maybe better than any band I've ever heard. Great, great, psychedelic heavy prog.

4.5/5, rounded up

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 Sign No. 9  by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.76 | 15 ratings

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Sign No. 9
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Jane 1979 - exit keys man Manfred Weiczorke, enter keys man Klaus Hess ?? What ? Yes, Jane lost their wonderful former-ELOY keyboardist, and lead-guitarist/founder Hess took on all keyboard duties for this 'Sign No. 9' release. And he is serviceable, to say the least. I think Manfred left all his gear behind because it sounds like the same set-up (Organ, String synth and Mini-Moog). Here we have a typical, melodic hard-rock album with the distinctive Jane sound, nicely done for sure - heavily riff-laden songs abound, but any progressive inventions are kept in check ; actually, a good game to play whilst listening to this is 'spot the prog bit' - ooh there's one, umm, there's another......but on the whole, it's far from a poor album, perhaps just undemanding. The production is very late-70's (duh), somewhat tinny and thin - the bass of Martin Hesse sounds crisp, Peter Panka's drums have a very natural quality to them, and Hess offers up generous doses of searing guitar solos (in his inimitable bluesy fashion) and crunching rhythmic chords. Also of note, the album's last few tracks become more acoustic guitar dominated. All three members sing, there are two good instrumental tracks ('Henry Goes Married' and 'Letter to Mariann') and it all comes wrapped up in this fetching Toucan artwork. Highlights are the songs Sign No. 9, Moonstone and Letter to Mariann. A fair 3 star effort.

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