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TOGETHER

Jane

Heavy Prog


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loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Yet another Conny Plank recording/engineering project from the early '70's. JANE were krautrock at its finest mixing heavy guitar and organ soaked passages with the "great vocals" of Bernd Pulst. This is certainly heavy German prog which may not appeal to all prog rock fans. I love the dark grooves they get into and the underground feeling the cd delivers. Acid guitar permeates throughout the album in an almost "Hendrixy" fashion. This album is less symphonic than other JANE releases and one is quite a solid workout. I happen to love this album and the deep the dark depth JANE reaches... this is classic Krautrock.
Report this review (#4017)
Posted Sunday, March 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This 1972 debut from Krautrockers Jane contains one of the finest Gibson Les Paul solos ever committed to record to be found on the final track, Hangman. Extensive , yet fueled with emotion as is the rest of the work on this stellar album. Vocalist Bernd Pulst who unfortunately departed after this debut sings heartfully. The lyrical lines are wonderful. "nightime is not my time, for I am blind and cannot see." "When I wake up in the morning, It's the end of a day." are just a couple of examples. One of the best Krautrock albums highly recommended.
Report this review (#4019)
Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Not every prog head will be pleased by JANE's harder-edged prog but I'm delighted about their early work. This album is the one I used to listen to very often because in my opinion it's their most balanced record. The sound of JANE is more blues rock inspired like URIAH HEEP than it has echoes from YES, GENESIS, KING CRIMSON or ELP. The guitar work is melodic, alternating between warm and sensitive and fiery and heavy. The English vocals often sound dramatic and have a strong German accent. The rhythm-section is far from inventive but they do their work. The lush organ work is the most remarkable element in the music from JANE, let you take away by the tidal waves of the Hammond organ, what a moving experience. The two long tracks "Spain" and "Hangman" (featuring a fine synthesizer solo) belong to the best JANE ever made, especially the long instrumental interludes. Just brilliant simplicity!
Report this review (#4020)
Posted Sunday, November 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is their first and by far best album. They play a wonderful guitar and a great organ. The long tracks are very harmonic, calm and peaceful but also very exciting and powerful. When I heard first this record, I could not believe that they were German, because there were only a very few continental groups that sounded that great. This was one of the records I couldn't get enough from. The reason why I can give "only" 4 stars is the voice of the singer. Although it matches somehow their music style, I know singers with better voices, at least in my opinion. But it is still a masterpiece.
Report this review (#4021)
Posted Friday, November 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Jane's debut album is easily my favorite from them. From the first organ drones to the last guitar histrionics , this album is a classic. Although Jane was not really progressive per se especially in their early days, they presented some excelent hard rock with long instrumental interplay between very apt musicians, so one might say prog'n roll !!!

Much like their countrymen Birth Control starting out as good hard prog than trying a second carreer as a more specifically progressive rock unit dishing out a few prog albums in the second part of the 70's but none of those groups were entirely convincing at it and both lost a bit of their credibility.

This is the only album where they will have a proper vocalist (and he is good) , but he will leave just after this one. Not that the future vocalist will be bad, far from that idea (actually the many singers will always sound a bit like Berndt Pulst) , but they will also handle another instrument. The opening track , Daytime , is one of those tracks that you will have heard somewhere on radio but probably never knew it was Jane! A minor classic. But the second side is really were Jane shines. Spain is absolutely their finest track with great dramatic vocals , organ lines and guitar heroics. Hangman is another greay long track that ends the album giving you the envy to push the replay button.

I can only suggest prospective progheads to start with Jane chronologically and with this superb debut (And this awesome late-Picasso-ish artwork sleeve) and discover the band as such. Much worth a spin!!!!!

Report this review (#4023)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Together is one of those album's/Cd's I would never want to be without. The first time I heard it I was very impressed by it. Heard it at a friend of mine's apartment. When hours later I went home I could not get the songs out of my head. They stayed with me. Then eventually I bought the LP. Its low tempo, lush organ and master guitar play just impresses. It has a bit of a downer/depressive feel to it. One thing about the early Jane albums is that they really don't try to follow anyone, I always get the feeling the did what they liked to do and did not really care what the rest of the world was doing. Like with may German bands of the 70's you can tell that the are German. The singer is not great, but the organ and guitar play make up for it. If you like Krautrock (German Rock from the 70's) this is a must have.
Report this review (#4025)
Posted Thursday, May 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This debut album from this German band has very passionate and sincere music on it. The influences of blues and organ driven harder rock are treated in a psychedelic manner, and the result should please the fans of krautrock. My favorite tracks are the slow, bluesy opener and the very impressionistic song "Spain". Also the surrealistic covers of this album are very pretty, and I have seen two quite similar versions of it. I have understood, that the other albums by this band should be approached with a caution, as they do not share the style of this album.
Report this review (#37971)
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This and _Here We Are_ are complete masterpieces. They never were as good on the albums that followed, in my view. This is a dark, heavy progressive rock classic. The music soars with power! The voice of Bernd Pulst is just mind boggling. Incredibly powerful and deep, passionate singing!
Report this review (#39483)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, yes, this is the better side of so called Krautrock. It is simple, yet dark and very moody debut album that is obviously the best from Jane.

What is the best, the variety of rhytms ain't very big (in fact it is one rhytm for almost the whole album). It would seem that this fact is bad for prog, but it's not. It creates the specific German monotony. But it is not Can!!! It is heavy rocker, dark but extremely melodic. Beautiful guitar solos are shining TOGETHER with heavy organ. The singer is by far the best from the whole Jane career, not extraordinary, but great in this kind of music. All songs are highlights because the whole album seems to be only one song.

I highly appreciate this German band and especially this album.

Report this review (#103467)
Posted Monday, December 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars ANOTHER GERMAN GEM!

JANE is a german band originating from Hanover.This doesn't mean it has to be classified as a Krautrock band as they were not in the experimental mood like AMON DUUL 2, CAN, ASH RA TEMPEL and other TANGERINE DREAM. JANE sound was more ''earthy'' , more of a hard rock band with prog leanings or vice versa a prog band with some hard-rocking guitar depending the sound of their albums which could be quite different from one to another.

The prog bands you could associate with their music are old PINK FLOYD, especially RICK WRIGHT organ and occasional Gilmour- esque guitar, ELOY whom they will share the same keyboardist MANFRED WIECKZORKE with and a little bit of BIRTH CONTROL. You mix all these ingredients, add some bluesy Hard-rock, but not the english style ,rather the american mid-west sound with raunchy vocals a la CACTUS for exemple and you have JANE! URIAH HEEP influence can be heard sometimes as well.

Some of their albums would be pure prog, others can be labeled as blues/hard rock only!Sometimes, they will blend all of their influences together and released great albums, averages LPs and poor ones (like verybody else, i guess). TOGETHER is their first album and one of their 3 best ever! The line up consists of KLAUS HESS on guitar, PETER PANKA on drums who both would be the 2 constant features of the band. WERNER NADOLNY plays organ, CHARLY MAUCHER is on bass and for the first time and last time, there is a lead singer BERNDT PULST ( who thankfully left after this album with KLAUS HESS taking over the vocals)

TOGETHER is all about simple melodic rock with a nice organ kind of wall of sound creating a soundscape leaving room for the guitar of HESS to play sometimes heavy, sometimes in a more delicate mood.Even when HESS is playing hard, he never loses his sense of melody as the music is well structured and every guitar part he plays is always ''musical'' !

The best example of JANE music can be heard in the 8 mns opener DAYTIME: slow athmospheric start,organ all over nice melodic vocals, then beautiful guitar solo Gilmour style. This is not complicated music with time changes , complex arrangements and phenomenal virtuosity. No, this is 1972 prog music, very efficient played with a lot of feelings where each note, each word has a meaning and placed where it should be. Just listen to TRY TO FIND and you'll learn how to it is possible to let emotions coming out of a guitar solo, not by playing fast but just by playing the right note and let it breathe.KLAUS HESS does it masterfully.

SPAIN is a 11mns epic, once again starting slow with a nice melodic line before the music get loose with a wild organ solo and then another fantastic performance from the guitarist alternating between a cosmic psychedelic mood and a more hard-rocking edge, never losing his sense of melody throughout.PROG music can be so rewarding when we have the chance to listen to music like that and wait for the 10 mns HANGMAN which would be played each night everytime JANE is on stage for years to come. The beauty of this track is this epic 3-4 mns long guitar solo performance. I have heard thousands of guitar solos in my life, but this one from HANGMAN is well among my 10 all-time favorites.No less!! The song is great in its entirety staring slowly (as usual) , very athmospheric, very melodic before the guitar crashes the party abruptly and brings you to a furious world but looking like heaven to me.

The vocals of berndt PULST sound kind of raw to me, more like of a mid-west singer performing in smoky lounges; This is no JON ANDERSON for sure. If you like early PF, URIAH HEEP, ELOY give yourself this pleasure and get TOGETHER (not easy to find, i think, but you should try)

4 STARS.

Report this review (#142401)
Posted Saturday, October 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars When one listens to the opening song "Daytime", it seems that an unreleased "Floyd" bonus track from "ASOS" is playing. This is an extremely beautiful song. These background keys are truely somptous and even the vocals are not that bad here. The guitar play during the second half combined with these great keys is one of the best moment of music you can expect. THE highlight of this album. The finale is an explosion of gorgeous keys and crying guitar. PHENOMENAL.

"Wind" is on the heavy side. Somewhat psychedelic-hard-rock. It sounds a lot like some "Ten Years After" songs from the "Crickle Wood Green" or "Watt" period ("TYA" is a band that I like very much BTW, a part of my flesh and bones).

I'm not as positive about "Try To Find" which is a blues-rock song with not too much conviction. Organ play sounds familiar with the ones of Hensley ("Heep") : heavily pumped out the machine. It turns out in some sort of heavy psyche.

The longest song from this album "Spain" starts obviously with a Spanish oriented intro. It is another highlight. Not thanks to the vocal part but the duo keyboards/guitar works perfectly. The combination of these Spanish sounds with heavy keys is very original for the time (remember, this is a 1972 recording).

References here are plenty : early Floyd ("Daytime"), early Purple ("Spain"), early Heep ("Try To Find"), early "Ten Years After" ("Wind" and "Hangman"). In terms of musical style, some hard-rock, some psychedelia and some space-rock as well. If this mix of genre suits you, you'll be enchanted with the music delivered here.

If the bands I have mentioned are appealing to you as they are to me, there are great chances that "Jane" will be an interesting discovery. This album is available in the CD format for about eight ? (+ shipment) on the Amazon marketplace. It is the same for most of their early releases, so do grab two or three, you won't be disappointed.

The only negative comments I can think of is that, like "Eloy", the job of the vocalist is not really good. And, again like "Eloy", even at the time of release ('72), the music is a bit outdated. Sounds more like a record from the late sixties actually.

Still, four stars for this solid rocking album. Mainly thanks to the GREAT "Daytime"

Report this review (#149810)
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars It´s funny how people listen to music in different ways. Some people seem to think this is a really great album but IMO this is really poor.

The music is driven strongly by Werner Nadolny´s Organ playing. The pretty simple bluesy guitar riffs play second violin here, and I´m not sure if that´s a good or a bad thing here as both the organ and the guitar riffs are awful. What´s even worse though are the terrible vocals. Bernd Pulst has a very powerful and distinct voice the only problem is that I find it terribly annoying, so if the simple and quite franky boring music doesn´t do me in the awful vocals will. The german accent isn´t too good either, I´m having trouble hearing if the lyrics are in english some times.

The musicians are untight and not very innovative.

The sound quality is below standard even for the time.

All this adds up to a 1 star rating from me. I hate to give them but some bands just don´t deserve more for their poor efforts. How a band like Jane ever got a record contract is beyond me, but as I can see in some of the other reviews some people enjoy this. I guess you´ll have to judge yourself. I wont recommend it though.

Report this review (#164195)
Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is such a monster. It's amazing that the band who came up with this and 'Here We Are' would later go on to produce albums that had great moments but never truly hit on this kind of level. It might be easy to dismiss this stuff if you aren't careful, but if you pay attention and really begin to understand the sound this band was going for, it becomes clear that these guys just had the touch. Not unlike Pink Floyd, the individual musicianship is good but rarely the reason the stuff is so brilliant. It's more about a unique, collective approach to heavy progressive rock and Jane have a sound on this album that is left field of most anything.

Largely dark, haunting heavy prog but this also makes diatonic moves into powerfully positive territory. It should be noted that the vocals are simply outstanding! Bernd Pulst has such power in his voice that he just catapults these tunes into space! Really amazing. Even when the band just milk a simple idea, they often explode with massive power that is almost unbelievable. Much of this stems from the explosive drumming of Peter Panka. Talk about hitting the drums hard, this guy almost redefines the concept!

A great album and the sound is really tremendous. The old Brain CD sounds so good! You can really take it for a spin as it was done long before the days of added digital compression and all of this crap that goes on now days. One of my favorite albums because even though I could pick it apart a bit, I have no reason to because the spirit is just so convincing. Oh sure, there'll be the occasional listener who will just hear this as lazy hard rock, but trust me, those folk are not paying attention.

Report this review (#184503)
Posted Thursday, October 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Funny, I remember hearing Daytime on the radio when this LP was released in Brazil. A older friend of mine was a DJ who had an one hour show called Pop Festival. He played a lot of prog bands and Jane was one of them. And although I liked the song only recently I had the opportunity to hear the whole CD. It was not much what I had expected.

For years I´ve heard that Jane was a kind of psychedelic/Space rock band, and I was quite surprised to find them anything but that. Actually compared to the other german bands of the time they sounded much more conventional, heavy, blues-rock oriented, than most. Not bad, but not outstanding either. I was thinking their sound was something like Eloy´s Inside or Amon Düull. And they are not.

It is not to say they are bad. Just a bit ordinary for the time, since there was dozens of other groups doing exactly the same sound in 1971/72. I liked a lot the massive use of the Hammond organ, but their songwriting skills were not very convincing. I mean, there´s nothing really new or exciting, even if the band had good musicians and quite a fine singer.

I´m looking forward to hear their latter day releases and see if they improved. For this one 3 stars. Barely.

Report this review (#218398)
Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is JANE's debut released in 1972. The vocalist would leave after this album. I must say I like his emotional style,his vocals are kind of rough but they fit the hard edged (organ and guitar driven) music quite well. I'm such a fan of the organ and guitar sounds on this album. It's all pretty straight forward but it moves me. By the way Conny Plank engineered this recording.

"Daytime" opens with bass and organ before guitar and drums join in as the sound builds quickly. It settles with organ then vocals join in. Passionate vocals after 4 minutes with some beautiful guitar melodies after 4 minutes.The guitar starts to rip it up a minute later with powerful organ runs. Vocals are back after 6 minutes as it settles again with floating organ. Here we go again before 7 1/2 minutes ! Fantastic track ! "Wind" is uptempo with guitar, drums and organ leading the way. The tempo slows down after a minute when the vocals come in. The guitar starts to light it up before 3 minutes then the tempo picks back up a minute later. "Try To Find" opens with floating organ as reserved vocals come in. It kicks in before 2 minutes as the guitar starts to solo. Nice.The contrasts continue.

"Spain" takes a while to get going but then it turns more aggressive before 3 minutes. The organ is just killer here ! The guitar that follows is also outstanding. It settles down before kicking back in after 7 1/2 minutes. The guitar is on fire then it settles again with vocals this time. Kicks back in with some nice bass after 10 minutes. The first 3 minutes of this song don't do a lot for me but the rest of the song more then makes up for it. Amazing tune ! "Together" is mellow to open with soft organ and some flute.Vocals a minute in. Drums and a fuller sound follow. The guitar solos before 2 1/2 minutes. Nice. "Hangman" opens with a good heavy sound. It settles when the vocals arrive. The tempo and mood continue to change. Check out the guitar after 3 1/2 minutes ! They then just jam on and on until 8 minutes in when it settles as vocals return.

Just a great release that I enjoy a lot. I have to offer up 4 stars to this one.

Report this review (#218931)
Posted Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Germany's Jane have enjoyed a long and prolific career, selling large amounts of records not only in their homeland but throughout Europe. 1972's 'Together' is where it all started, with a sound influenced strongly by Pink Floyd that features a mixture of both prog and psychedelic elements flavoured with 1970's-style hard rock(early Deep Purple anyone?) and a hint of the blues. A likeable album, though one that is slightly derivative of Western psychedelic rock, Jane's debut should appeal to fans of Nektar, Uriah Heep, Frumpy and Black Widow, with the rock-solid mixture of Klaus Hess' soaring lead guitar, Werner Nadolny's nicely understated organ and Bernd Pulst's gruff vocals combining to well-worn effect. Groundbreaking it may not be, but both proggers and rockers should find this psych-tinged album satisfying enough. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Report this review (#293768)
Posted Sunday, August 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Amazing prog. i came about this rare CD not long ago and for a month heard it a lot. It rocks. The first song "daytime" reminds me of July morning by Uriah Heep and I can't think of a better compliment "Wind" is a good song and so is "try to find" The 12 minutes long "Spain" is an amazing piece. Varies from rock to jazz, from slow to fast. "Together" is a great song and the finisher "hangman" is a strong piece also combining lots of moves and moods. The singing is very rough and powerful. It's a must for every prog lover specially to those who love hard rock combines with great organ. Superb
Report this review (#398196)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Oh, I see: JANE is categorized under Heavy Prog. So it's no wonder I didn't like it that much. I just listened to the first minute of the album in the library, after picking it up from a Prog section (my habit these days, to choose twenty-odd CD's at a time to bring home). It sounded good, with the hazy, floating organ-led sound strongly reminding of Saucerful-era PINK FLOYD. At the closer listen it was evident that the opening track, 'Daytime', is the album's highlight.

The second best is the closer 'Hangman'. More heavy, featuring some strong electric guitar playing but not yet too heavy for my taste. These two long tracks are 18 minutes of quite good German Prog sung in English. The rest of the album is rather poor, badly produced and marred especially by a bad vocalist. He's worse than the one of RARE BIRD (whose raspy roughness can work pretty well, in fact). The music is nothing very special either; poor man's early DEEP PURPLE is the best description I can think of. Some have mentioned also URIAH HEEP, which I find whole lot more interesting. I can think of several better psychedelic/heavy acts from early 70's than JANE. The cover art is quite suitable to the music: raises curiosity but turns out to be rather dull. With two better tracks, I give it 2,5 stars.

Report this review (#430738)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A good but not great album of work primarily influenced by the heavier side of early Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets, More, and the live disc of Ummagumma are the main touchstones here. The vocals are, as at least one other reviewer pointed out, nothing to write home about, but there's some great organ and guitar work on here, with influences of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep being on display on some of the heavier tracks. Still, not much in the way of especially memorable or high-class material here, and whilst it's a good enough album which I'll listen to all the way through if it happens to come on shuffle, it's not one I'd personally come back to again and again.
Report this review (#496302)
Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
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

Report this review (#584479)
Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1159754)
Posted Thursday, April 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Jane's debut album, "Together," is a prime example of early heavy prog from Germany. They also inject a bit of psychedelia into their brand of heavy prog. The reviews/ratings of this album are varied here on PA, and good points are made both to praise and to criticize this album. I, for one, really enjoy this album.

The songs are all good, but what really stands out for me is the singing of vocalist Bernd Pulst. This would be the only album he would be featured on, and the next year he was dead. Such as shame for a great talent to die so young. I have not been able to find any information on why he passed away, but I'm guessing it was drug related. Anyway, to give you an idea what he sounded like, think of something like Joe Cocker with a German accent. Some people don't care for it, but I think his vocal performance gives the music an emotional element often missing in prog rock. While none of the musicians are technical masters of their instruments, the performances are solid. At times some of the songs sound a bit like Eloy circa "Inside" or "Floating," but this album actually predates those, so I guess Eloy sounded a bit like Jane! The opener "Daytime," and the closer "Hangman" are the two standout tracks for me, primarily for their emotional impact. The most progressive track is the 11+ minute "Spain," which changes direction several times.

While Jane would go on to greater success on subsequent albums, their first is by far my favorite. Recommended to those who can enjoy a progressive rock album without all the technical wizardry that often goes with it. 4 stars.

Report this review (#1569388)
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2016 | Review Permalink

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