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Focus - X CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.44 | 134 ratings

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3 stars A classic band still creating good music.

This is Focus, and within this progressive rock realm, who doesn't know their music? Well, I believe we all are aware of who they are, but some of us may have thought they had stopped composing and releasing albums, surprise, they are here with a new CD entitled "X" which offers 10 songs and a total time of 51 minutes of pure Focus' music, I mean, you will surely have some reminiscences of their first albums here.

And that can be exemplified with the opener track "Father Bachus" which I am sure will take you to the past and remember their "Hocus Pocus" hymn. The rhythm is similar, it is good rock with Thijs' flute and excellent guitars by "Menno Gotjies" this time. Nice bombastic first track, so be prepared to what's coming next. "Focus 10" starts with a cadent guitar accompanied by soft drums and organ, so the sound is a bit jazzy. It is undeniable that the music offered here will remind us to the old 70s Focus, so after so many years the essence is still the same, which might be a double-edged knife if we are looking for bands that reinvent themselves.

"Victoria" starts like the previous song finished, with delicate piano; later drums, guitar and bass join and together create a new structure whose temperature will make different changes, I mean, you can notice where the rhythm is faster and more emotional, but also when it slows down and becomes melancholic. At 2:20 there is a nice talk between organ and guitar, so a new passage begins. "Amok in Kindergarten" has a darker mood, maybe due to the bass sound in the beginning, but later it becomes softer and with the delicate piano and acoustic guitar its sound is even sweet. The progressive rock concept may not be exemplified here at its best, however, here we can appreciate the jazz tendency that the band also shares.

The rockier side returns with "All Hens on Deck", you can even feel the rhythm and shake your body, I like when Focus turns this rockish because it is like showing another of its faces and not getting stuck in the classical or jazzy style. The combination of guitars and flute is great, but greater the energy of the drummer here. This may be one of my favorite songs of this album, in which we can also hear to Thijs' vocals. "Le tango" has a sexy sound with Spanish acoustic guitar, a cool bass, flute and constant drums, but more important, it has lyrics! Something pretty strange in Focus, but here we can enjoy a voice which produces a totally different sound, so here we can appreciate the innovation. Delicious track!

After that different song, "Hoeratio" returns to the essence of Focus with that particular style that blends jazz, classical and symphonic music, here a new voice is added, not singing but only speaking like telling a story, sadly I don't understand what he says, he speaks Latin I am afraid, and honestly, I believe this time Focus failed with this experiment, at least I did not like the voice, it screwed up the music. When the voice finishes a rockier style appears, with hard rock style and bombastic guitar riffs. "Talk of the clown" returns now to the pastoral and beautiful Focus sound that can be appreciate since the first seconds with the flute and guitar.

The last couple of tracks are "Message Magic" and "X Roads", the first has that soft rock mood, while the second has a delicious rhythm with Latin hints. The fist can be described as just another Focus song, while the second as a nice way to finish the album. Well, Focus X is without a doubt a very good album, Thijs van Leer is still a monster and it is great to know these classic bands have still something to offer, however, I do not consider this to be outstanding or revolutionary, it is simply an album easy to enjoy, but not mandatory in our collections. My final grade, 3 stars.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 3/5 |


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