Often compared to Pink Floyd and fellow countrymen Eloy, Jane live up to their spacey reputation with a dense organ dominated record.
Written by: Eric
ALBUM: Here We Are
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Germany
LINEUP: Peter Panka – drums, vocals * Klauss Hess, Wolfgang Krantz – lead guitar, bass * Werner Nadolny – organ, mellotron
Additional Musicians: Dieter Dierks – electronic effects * Gunter Korber – spoken words, backing vocals * Miriam Kalenberg, Ariane Gottberg, Brigitte Blunck, Angelika Winkler, Peter Heinemann – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Redskin * 02 Out In The Rain * 03 Dandelion * 04 Moving * 05 Waterfall * 06 Like A Queen * 07 Here We Are
In my misspent youth I remember picking up a dog-eared used copy of Jane’s 1978 album ‘Age Of Madness’ and liking it but never digging into the band further. Why I don’t know as Jane sang in English, played the sort of accessible prog that turned me on and sounded nothing like the usual drugged-out ‘Krautrock’ bands I had encountered in the past.
Cost prohibitive perhaps as most Jane product was only available as imports but with a little bit more cash in my bank account, the advent of the CD, and the progressive rock reissue frenzy of the 1990’s, I finally caught up with Jane’s extensive if somewhat inconsistent catalog.
Ranging from their 1972 heavy rock based debut to the out of character synthy pop rock of 1986’s ‘Beautiful Lady’, Jane’s oeuvre can be a crap shoot, but their second album ‘Here We Are’ is easily one of the Hannover based band’s better offerings.
At this point Jane were destitute and had very little in the way of equipment. Their first vocalist Bernd Pulst had died and the bassist Charly Maucher was gravely ill. Borrowing what they needed with Klauus Hess and Wolfgang Krantz alternating on both bass and guitar and drummer Peter Panka now handling vocal chores, the results, considering the dire atmosphere, are astounding.
Often compared to Pink Floyd and fellow countrymen Eloy, Jane live up to their spacey reputation with a dense organ dominated record. ‘Here We Are’ opens with ‘Redskin’, a psychedelic jam that features faux American Indian chanting and probably goes on a couple minutes longer than it should, although the single version included on the 1997 Repertoire reissue is noticeably poppier.
‘Out In The Rain’ is an acknowledged Jane classic with beautiful Mellotron and if you can imagine Barclay James Harvest covering Pink Floyd, you’re on the right track.
Nothing is overtly heavy on the album and cuts like the hazy ‘Dandelion’ and the dirge-like ‘Moving’ while not sleep inducing are irresistibly mellow. ‘Waterfall’ take’s on a pleasing symphonic approach while the title track wraps up the record sounding more like Deep Purple and less cosmic but excellent nonetheless.
Jane went on to become one of Germany’s biggest hard rock bands but never really broke out of their rabid German fan base despite several European tours. In the mid-90s things got strange in the Jane camp with two different versions of the group recording and touring.
With the death of Peter Panka in 2007 a third version of Jane this time headed up by original member Charly Maucher has kept the name alive. Although with both bands including ‘Werner Nadolny’s Jane’ out and about and with no less than three ‘official’ web sites, it’s confusing to say the least.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)