Age Of Madness
02. Memory symphony (4:25)
03. Auroville (3:40)
04. Love song (3:53)
05. Bad game (5:14)
06. Get this power (2:40)
07. With her smile (4:20)
08. Meadow (3:27)
09. Age of madness (part II) (2:39)
Klaus Hess / guitars, vocals
Martin Hesse / bass, vocals
Peter Panka / drums, percussion, vocals
Manfred Wieczorke / keyboards, vocals
"Age of Madness" has all the traits of a band on autopilot - no truly outstanding songs, mostly shorter material, repetition of simple motifs beyond their usefulness, overall brief running time, etc. After the almost uniformly adventurous and convincing "Between Heaven and Hell", given the lateness of the hour for such epic material, a disappointment was inevitable.
Yet in the case of Jane, "Age of Madness" also played to their strengths. Their ability to stick doggedly to a simplistic yet catchy theme and plod along with slight variations was without peer in the German scene and beyond. It also strangely fits with the theme of madness, when one is unable to completely escape the infinite loops and disconnected circuits in one's brain. The title cut here is such an example, spacey, textural and hypnotic. "Memory Symphony" is similar, but more symphonic, with string synth sounds galore. The marriage of Jane's trademark psychedelia with country and western motifs in "Love Song" even shows a willingness to break new ground; even if this may have been commercially motivated, it doesn't seem like compromise. For a heavier repeating loop, try "Bad Game" - again, Jane takes a riff where it has gone before, again and again, and does it better than anyone, thanks to Hess and Wieczorke, amply backed by the rhythm section.
"With Your Smile" is perhaps the best thing here, kicking off mid-song and highlighted by some of Hess' best work and a near danceable beat. It is the ultimate expression of Jane's paradoxical blend of professionalism and amateurism.
On the negative side, "Get this Power" combine the worst of all eras of Jane, and must have sounded laughably retro even in 1978, and "Auroville" fails to inspire in spite of a similar formula to the album's successes. Nevertheless, as an overall collection, this late stage album has the temperament to outlive the vicissitudes of its age.