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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 | 196 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I came into MICE AND RATS at the same time as SORCERERS through the CD remaster bringing both albums together; boy are the differences noticeable even if the only lineup change is the addition of drummer Dennis Conlan. Jan Dukes de Grey seem to magically change from being a folksy leaning prog type of band to full blown prog folk band between albums yet keeping a certain trademark from SORCERERS. The tracks spike in length too; SORCERES had nothing over five minutes while the title track here is the shortest at 8+ minutes.

This is an album that more of the prog community can get behind, not that SORCERERS is bad (in fact, I think it's great), but MICE AND RATS definitely has more of a prog sound, there's more electric instrumentation from Derek Noy and the fact that there is an actual drummer here. Plus, you can't disregard the epicly lengthy tracks like the nearly 20 minute ''Sun Symphonica''.

The band does a stellar job at making these long pieces work considering their one previous album. Don't blast the title track out in public; the sax wail at the beginning will make people around think an ambulance is nearby. Add that with the near possessed singing, the eerieness of the track and the warbling wah-fed guitars and this censored is scary. ''Call of the Wild'' almost sounds like a rite-of-passage song for the band as the first half could fit on the debut with little argument, but then the band expands into a jazz-processed jam with more instrumental development than SORCERERS could dream of.

''Sun Symphonica'' is the typical highlight for most prog fans, probably for epic length but also for the string symphony underscoring some of the themes here. I actually find this epic to be the reason why I don't give a perfect five for MICE AND RATS; the themes are all nice and well-drawn-out and the drumming is spectacular, but the segues between the themes are too choppy to the point where it doesn't flow precisely well. It's still one of the better sidelong epics in the prog rock world.

If you need some prog folk in your collection not named Jethro Tull, this will do nicely. The epic length and well-developed themes should keep prog fans busy for forty minutes.

Sinusoid | 4/5 |


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