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Album Review

Jan Dukes De Grey – “Mice and Rats in the Loft ” – [Breathless Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/7/2006   A Library, CD

Re-release of the second release from this UK trio. Unlike
too much prog, this at times allows for the possibility of
skipping down a sunny hillside, there are carefree vibes in
each of the 3 lengthy, intricate songs including passages of
strong tune-worthiness (including a sort of brief quote
from Three Blind Mice on “Call of the Wild”). But beneath
that sunshiney vibe, the lyrics here talk of guillotines
and ripping hearts right out of the flesh (years before
Indiana Jones turned such an act into a theme park). The
deft mix of instruments: sax, mandolin, trumpet, flute and
more not only showcases the proficiency of the band, but
makes for a very full-sound for a three-piece. Derek Noy
is a very imaginative guitarist, his work on the initial
“Sun Symphonica” propels that through its early phases
until it hits a quaint English tea-time interlude around
5 minutes in. But shortly afterwards he gets some 12-string
fury (or is that the “Zelda Chord”) charging the song up
again. Another energizer is the glissando growling voice
of Noy (rising up like a siren, an effect duplicated by
both keyboard and an actual siren on this album.) Each of
these songs is just plain brilliant in scope and sound.
-Thurston Hunger

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