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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 | 222 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This obscure gem of an album could well be considered as a folky version of Van Der Graaf Generator !! Jan Dukes De Grey are unique in every way - from the diverse instrumentation handled by only 3 musicians, the way they utilise strange chords, key changes and varying tempos, to the very personal style of vocal expression. Consisting of 3 lengthy pieces ; Side 1 is taken up by 'Sun Symphonica', a near 19 minute excursion through a variety of moods, textures and colour. Heavily dominated by acoustic instruments, its initial melody suggests a cheerful, sunny vibe, with heavy drums, and some great saxophone. Quickly comes a most unpredictable change of pace, almost psychotic - the drummer starts up a manic beat, and this is built upon by dischordant acoustic guitar and wild sax playing. The singer sounds very shakey in his delivery, but never actually tumbles over the edge. After this section, a lighter movement starts with an orchestral backing, this part is absolutely beautiful. The flute playing adds a quite peaceful and rustic feel to the music. This then merges into a darker part, the core sound of guitar/sax/drums and orchestral strings is embellished by hand percussion, with the singer getting a chance to let loose a bit. The last section features an awesome riff, with weird sounds, horn squawks and off-key harmonica insertions. A vibraphone tinkles away as the song comes to a stop. This is just a basic run-down of this really amazing piece of music actually, there's just so much going on in between. Side 2 track 1 - 'Call Of The Wild' (12.48) starts out very folky, with multi-part vocals, flute and strummed acoustic, quite reminiscent of the Incredible String Band, as is often cited. The tune moves along with stunning guitar play for some minutes, showing off the considerable skills of Derek Noy. He is always playing something different so it never ceases to amaze the listener. A full band sound is achieved when the drums, sax and bass (which is reputed to be a 'cello played like a bass') kick in with some energetic jamming, from which the song is brought to a close with a guitar/sax combination. Title-track 'Mice And Rats In The Loft' (8.19) is a relentless piece of music, driven along by acidic wah-wah guitar and an incessant beat. This one doesn't change much, but doesn't outstay its welcome, either. This is an album which will undoubtedly take a few listens to appreciate and follow, but it is quite a masterpiece within the whole Progressive Folk category - few albums I've heard within this sub-genre reach the inspired heights and creativity of this, special album.
Tom Ozric | 5/5 |


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