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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 | 221 ratings

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con safo
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Jan Dukes De Grey are a forgotten relic of progressive music. Their brilliant free-from album "Mice And Rats In The Loft" was the pinnacle of their musical expression, a semi-improvised journey into madness. The album opens with the epic track "Sun Symphonica" which embodies everything that was excellent about this band. Starting rather lighthearted, bracing you for the sonic assault soon to be unleashed in your mind. Lots of clever instrumental work and 12 string strumming, Noy and Bairstow create a spiraling maelstrom with many different instruments including saxophones, flutes, trumpets, trombones, even a zelda chord(!). All made with the help of a backing orchestra, which gives the music a symphonic and epic feel. Brilliant. A more sinister atmosphere is revealed halfway through the song, describing the beheading of a young girl, made even more disturbing by Derek's theatric voice. An intense instrumental section kicks in after this, and we are taken on an incredible improvised journey. The song then reprises the beginning, but in a negative light. "Sunshine/Come Screaming Through My Window/Another Lonely Day Is Through" Breathtaking.

The album never does return to the intensity of Sun Symphonica, but the last two tracks are still excellent. "Call Of The Wild" uses multi-vocal harmonies to create an eery sound, very unique. The distorted acoustic guitars give it a very dark mood and original sound. The song structure dissolves and Derek takes us on a journey with his guitar alone. Improvised riffs and atmospheric strumming give the feel of being deep in a forest, surrounded by cool, misty air. Beautiful. At around the 8 minute mark the song bursts into a jazzy finale, very cool outro.

The title track "Mice And Rats In The Loft" is a psych masterpiece. Hendrix style guitar gives the song a very psychedelic feel, creating pools of sound around your feet. The lyrics are a chilling tale of religious sacrifice, all adding to the intense mood and atmosphere of the track. "The blade descended like lightning/Tore him open from chest to gut/And the priest thrust his hand inside/And ripped out the still beating heart". The song follows a similar rhythm all the way through, but builds upon it with odd sounding instruments and awesome buildups.

A criminally underrated album that deserves its place in prog history!

con safo | 5/5 |


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