The second, and last, effort from the Canterbury supergroup that still feels contemporary in its loose array of ideas.
For all his desire to be creative in a band situation, MATCHING MOLE's self-titled debut comprised primarily Robert Wyatt's songs so, when the time came ro follow it up some months later, he not only engaged Robert Fripp as a producer but also gave freer reins to the rest of the players - while remaining the main force to which their second album's Mao-derived title refers. Wyatt's imaginative drums are more prominent now and the overall ensemble's work is smoother, its downside being lesser originality and greater quotient of fusion: this change is heard on the second track, the intensive "Marchides", that, together with sparse closer, "Smoke Signal", had been well tasted on the road, as the live concert here and on the expanded "Matching Mole" demonstrates.
This time synthesizers manned by Dave MacRae who replaced David Sinclair full-time challenge Phil Miller's guitar for freeform twine where melodies play hide-and-seek with ever-mutating groove closer to the RETURN TO FOREVER than Kentish sonic mold. Brian Eno adds shimmer to ease "Gloria Gloom" in and out of focus, in which Wyatt gets back to childish songs, and Robert excels in elevating the delicate, acoustic "God Song" to heavens. Yet - save for these and the faux nursery rhymes of "Righteous Rhumba" that allow Bill MacCormick bomp his bass before unleashing it to the electric funk of "Brandy As In Benji" - whatever vocal lines are there, in "Nan True's Hole" or "Starting In The Middle Of The Day We Can Drink Our Politics Away", they take an idiosyncratic back seat behind the relentless, if always pellucid, soloing. The release comes with the light "Flora Fidgit" that lacks a six-string which embellished its earlier takes as one of the bonus cuts suggests.
But it would prove to be the final work of this wonderful quartet, as Wyatt decided he wasn't cut for leading role and went solo. Later, the others, eager to deliver, convinced him to take MOLE to the light again but, set to try, Robert took his fateful freefall and the band took their place in history.