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Matching Mole - March CD (album) cover


Matching Mole


Canterbury Scene

3.89 | 29 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Released by the always-excellent Cuneiform label the following year of the Smoke Signal live posthumous album, March is much better than its predecessor, if only sonically-speaking. Indeed, unlike the sonically-flawed SS release, this one is simply outstanding, and features a splendid (if a tad less fiery) performance, or should I say not quite as raw-sounding. Recorded throughout the European tour of 72, the selection of tracks chosen for this disc is also indisputable and presents a more representative facet of the Mole's works; one that resembles more what was recorded in the studio albums (if you'll except the two poppy tunes of their debut), even if the band does what it does best? it extrapolates and experiments.

Opening on cymbal brushing, joined by a fiery Frippian-styled guitar (Phil Miller was apparently subjugated by Fripp during the recording of Little Red Record), the title track shows the band in a very cosmic mood, before Wyatt gives us an outstanding vocal - well mouth-based noises ? performance (including dying-piglet screams) in the awesome Instant Pussy (a much longer version than on SS) that followed March without interval. Up next is Smoke Signals (the track, not the album), where the band is out on improvised grounds, sometime approaching a brass-less Miles-type of fusion in Bitches Brew. Part Of The Dance features that descending riff and Wyatt gives another shot at his scatting talents, which will lead into an improvised "alf" Measures. Weirdly enough The Mole chose to infiltrate Caravan's repertoire and did a wild but unconventional and instrumental cover of Waterloo Lilly (I believe Miller wasn't far away from the studio when that album was recorded) with McRae sounding much as if Sinclair was on the bass guitar.

Much more essential than the preceding Smoke Signals, this is really complementary (fortunately the track lists are fairly different too), which seems to hover the BBC sessions and concert release and the raw SS release. The only small remark I'd have against this release is that it sounds a bit too samey throughout the length of the album, but then again this MM and not KC or H&TN. Prefer March to SS, but your choice might be tougher between this one and the BBC recordings.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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