Little Red Record, Matching Mole's second and final studio album, was released a mere 7 months after their self-titled debut, but much had already changed. With keyboard player David Sinclair leaving the band right around the time of the debut albums release (he would once again wind up back in Caravan), ex-Nucleus member Dave MacRae slid right in to his spot. In addition, Little Red Rooster was produced by King Crimson's Robert Fripp, and featured less Robert Wyatt compositions than the debut, making for an overall more well rounded effort. Esoteric's reissue features remastered sound and a host of bonus tracks, plus a great booklet with plenty of vintage photos and a lengthy essay about the band & album.
Though Wyatt's weak vocals do bring down parts of the album, it's the daring & adventurous fusion tracks "Marchides", "Brandy as in Benj", "Smoke Signals", and "Flora Fidgit " that really are the highlights here. MacRae's nimble electric piano flights really do work well alongside Phil Miller's sizzling guitar lines, and both Wyatt and bassist Bill MacCormick lay down some rumbling grooves throughout the album. Some of the rest of the tunes are actually quite fine musically, in a quirky Gentle Giant sort of way, but Wyatt's mumbling, rambling vocals should have been avoided.
Some of the live BBC live bonus cuts are actually pretty damn spectacular, a few of which show just how lethal Miller was becoming, and foreshadowing his great work with National Health just a few short years later. "Marchides" is especially scorching (and nearly 11-minutes), and "Part of the Dance" from the first album is paired with "Brandy as in Benj" for a sizzling affair. Overall this is another great reissue from the folks at Esoteric that you'll certainly want to seek out.
1. Starting in the Middle of the Day, We Can Drink Our Politics Away (2:31)
2. Marchides (8:25)
3. Nan True's Hole (3:36)
4. Righteous Rhumba (2:50)
5. Brandy as in Benj (4:24)
6. Gloria Gloom (8:06)
7. God Song (2:59)
8. Flora Fidgit (3:26)
9. Smoke Signal (6:37)
Bonus tracks on ECLEC22312 reissue 2012:
1. Instant Pussy / Lithing and Gracing (7:56)
2. Marchides (10:30)
3. Part of the Dance / Brandy as in Benj (8:41)
4. Starting In The Middle Of The Day We Can Drink Our Politics Away (Take One) (2:51)
5. Smoke Signal (Take Four) (6:44)
6. Flora Fidget (Take Eight) (6:38)
7. Mutter (3:23)