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Album Review

March is the second live Matching Mole set issued by Cuneiform about 30 years after the event, following 2001's Smoke Signals. The good news is that this disc, taken from a European concert from March 1972, has a track lineup different enough from Smoke Signals to make it worthwhile for Matching Mole fans. That's particularly so since the sound quality is very good, up to the standards of official live albums (and, in fact, better than numerous official live albums, especially from the early '70s). Six of the seven songs are versions of compositions from their two studio releases, the seventh selection being a surprise cover of fellow Canterbury act Caravan's "Waterloo Lily." As for other major surprises in either the song choices or the arrangements, there aren't any, but it's very well-played, energetically brash progressive rock/fusion, about as cerebral and serious as any music with which Robert Wyatt's been involved. It's also almost wholly instrumental, though Wyatt occasionally contributes some nearly wordless avant-garde vocals. At times he sounds like a bird shrieking in its death throes in "Instant Pussy"; his jazzy scat singing on "No 'Alf Measures" is easier on the ear.


Formed: 1971

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s

Between his departure from the Soft Machine and the proper beginning of his solo career, Robert Wyatt steered Matching Mole, an outfit which bore much similarity to his later work with Soft Machine. Indeed, the name Matching Mole was chosen as a subtle pun on Soft Machine (the sound of the English words "matching mole" are very similar to the French translation of "soft machine," machine molle). However, Matching Mole didn't measure up to either his best Soft Machine work or his best solo outings....
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March, Matching Mole
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