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Focus - Hamburger Concerto CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.24 | 980 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 3.6 Stars

It's difficult to resist trying an album called "Hamburger Concerto" with its title track taking twenty minutes and divided into sections humorously called "starter" "well-done". Have you ever heard a song about food, let alone a progressive rock epic? I didn't and I wanted to try something new, and expected something hilarious since I knew Focus by their funny and quirky single with yodeling and whistle solos. Unfortunately, I couldn't find humor here (it really sounds more serious than I expected), but that doesn't change the fact that the music is great and very melodic.

Hamburger Concerto is not your typical symphonic rock music, and it has a very classical and romantic feel and is generally instrumental. This is evident in "La Cathedral de Strasbourg", which sounds like it comes from another century if it wasn't for the jazz guitar playing near the end. Check the whistling halfway through the track: very interesting and not out of place. The harpsichord of "Birth" still brings back the old classical sound but when you expect more of that style, the song turns into a delicious rock tune full of tasty Hammond organs (yes, I can use those adjectives, Come on, the cover is a hamburger!). I love the usage of the flute in this track; it is even more effective than on the short, delicate "Delicate Musicae" which opens the album. Overall, Birth has to be the best Focus song I've heard so far. It's full of melody, emotion, and is flawlessly executed. At the end of the album, a second part of the magnificent "Birth" is played and is a great way to finish the album.

Hamburger Concerto is the centerpiece of the album. I was expected to laugh a lot, but this song doesn't really sound like cooking a burger. It's a very well done (no pun intended) classical soft-rock song that sounds surprisingly honest and unpretentious. The music is generally mid-tempo and pleasant to listen to, with wonderful melodies and arrangements that would make our classical music heroes proud. There is absolutely no showing off nor pointless soloing here, and I'm glad there isn't because it would break the atmosphere of this tune. The song ends with an extended majestic section with a nice and simple synthesizer solo. The only thing that makes this song not stand on the level of the epic masterpieces like Tarkus, Close to the Edge, and Supper's Ready is the fact that it's twenty minutes of mid-tempo music. Sure, it's great music all the way through, but lack of dynamics for such a long time hurts the song eventually. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of mid-tempo classical music, you are likely to fall in love with this piece.

Wait! This sounds like a 4-star review, so why did you give 3.6 stars?! Clear, "Harem Scarem" is embarrassing. The guys tried to be funny and reproduce their famous "Hocus Pocus". They failed, the forced vocalizations sound idiotic and the rock & roll music is very dumb, overlong, and repetitive.

This great album is highly recommended to fans of classical music and the softer side of progressive rock Just skip Harem Crapem and have a chance to hear Focus at their best. However, if you like your music to have guitar players playing 40 note/second solos, 10-minute long keyboard solos, and find classical music a bore, this album may not be for you.

1_Delicate Musicae (B)

2_Harem Scarem (D-)

3_La Cathedral de Strasbourg (B-)

4_Birth (A)

5_Hamburger Concerto (A/B)

6_Early Birth (B+)

Zitro | 4/5 |


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