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Jan Dukes De Grey - Mice And Rats In The Loft CD (album) cover


Jan Dukes De Grey


Prog Folk

4.21 | 195 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Rating: B+

Those who are familiar with Comus' First Utterance will be delighted to learn that First Utterance has a twin brother in Mice and Rats in the Loft, the magnum opus of Jan Dukes de Grey. A similar psychedelic folk release (even down to the mildly disturbing lyrics, especially on the title track), Mice and Rats in the Loft is every bit as good as First Utterance. And for those who don't know Comus' disturbed music, Mice and Rats in the Loft might be a better place to go, given the lyrics aren't nearly so harsh. Really, though, what it comes down to is the simple fact that Mice and Rats in the Loft is a monumental progressive folk release, one of the very best there is.

That simple truth is due to three long and complex compositions, whose lengths will remind potential buyers of this other famous CD (released one year after Mice and Rats in the Loft), Close to the Edge. The music bears little similarity, however. Whereas Close to the Edge is tight and firm, Mice and Rats in the Loft is a sprawling CD, mixing composition with improvisation, capitalizing on strong songwriting skills to build room for extended folk jams that truly make the CD, particularly on the track "Sun Symphonica" (the "Close to the Edge" of Mice and Rats in the Loft). At nearly nineteen minutes in length, "Sun Symphonica" is the centerpiece of the CD, and it's a marvelous one at that. It has some symphonic touches (as the title suggests), but it's mostly folk jamming. Again, as the title suggests, it's quite light-hearted and happy, and it's a stellar opener.

Even more stellar, though, is the closer, "Mice and Rats in the Loft." The shortest of the bunch at eight minutes, the title track builds around a massive riff positively drenched in psychedelia. Every time the main riff kicks in, it feels fresh and new, bringing the song full circle from its jamming nature, taking it back to the land of sane in order to close out the CD. Sandwiched between these two epic songs is "Call of the Wild," which is another track full of great songwriting and better jamming, though it's not quite as good as the two around it.

Mice and Rats in the Loft is one of those releases that is unfairly obscure, and it definitely deserves more respect than it gets. Anybody looking for an excellent progressive folk experience should look no further than this hidden gem. Fans of Comus will delight in its psychedelic madness; everyone else will find they can't help but do the same. An essential purchase for anyone with even the slightest interest in progressive folk music, or even folk music and psychedelic music in general. It's a trip you won't soon forget.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |


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