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Focus - 3 CD (album) cover

3

Focus

 

Symphonic Prog

3.73 | 318 ratings

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Atkingani
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Very unbalanced FOCUS album: it mixes some enjoyable and uplifting short tracks with predominantly boring and dull long tracks - anyway, even the long tracks present some fine parts, thence the result is a bit above the average. Sad that some themes could be better exploited making this album something really unforgettable; well, in my very humble opinion.

FOCUS were at their peak then and one could expect that this double album would get the higher grades but its classification was timid. Otherwise, being the band so popular at the time, we may see a fine production with meaningful arrangements and a special care with the vocals in order not to spoil excessively the songs.

'Round goes the gossip' is a good opener, a kind of jazz-fusion song, with exquisite vocals (Latin?) and nice instrumentation. It bears a clear band's signature, with abrupt changes and weird moments, however well-placed within the theme making it a very catchy track. The frenzy-like heard on the opening song is replaced by a pastoral and bucolic melody named 'Love remembered', a band's visiting to the romantic side of the things. I still have fresh in my memory how this song was used as background to TV ads and assorted issues.

'Sylvia' is probably the best known track here, another FOCUS standard (together with 'Hocus Pocus'). The song is basically a flurry of sounds all meticulously connected even the general atmosphere makes the listener believe that it's nothing more than a mess - but this is the essence of progressive and very much of the FOCUS style. 'Carnival fugue' begins relaxing and keeps growing and growing to the point where the promised carnival almost happens.

'Focus III' is pleasant and amusing, making a fair preparation for the lengthy 'Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers?' a track full of agreeable moments but slightly damaged by the instrument jamming which seemed unnecessary. 'Anonymous 1 & conclusion' drags for almost half an hour with nothing more than a few nice segments that are insufficient to make this track to be remembered.

The folky 'Elspeth of Nottingham' shows some interesting moments when first heard but with time and the continuous hearings it becomes weary and dispensable. Fortunately the album ends with the colorful and amazing 'House of the King', pity that it lasts only a pair of minutes; additional minutes would be healthy here.

As mentioned, the long tracks, responsible for more than fifty percent of the album are the weakest points here, they could have been shortened while some short tracks could have been extended; nevertheless the feeling that a single album should have been more effective persists after more than 30 years of listening. "Focus III" is a good album and that's enough.

Atkingani | 3/5 |

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