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Focus - 3 CD (album) cover

3

Focus

 

Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 312 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
3 stars When I first heard FOCUS III, I was distinctly underwhelmed. It doesn't feature anything as in-your-face as "Hocus Pocus" and there are no traces of mellotron either, so at first sight there's nothing as gloriously symphonic as the previous album's "Eruption". Furthermore, when FOCUS III was still a double LP, I felt a little shortchanged because the second disc consisted mainly of a 26-minute jam in which all four of the band's members were accorded equal space, which left me with an over-long bass solo (one that started fairly quietly, i.e. with a lot of annoying crackle on the record-player) and an even more forgettable drum solo.

But now the album is available as a single CD, I'm happy to report you're still getting loads of music, and everything feels just right! You can treat the 26-minute jam any way you like, let the ff-button be your friend, you will probably enjoy those fiery guitar and Hammond organ solos, and recently, I must admit, I've even started enjoying the bass one! (Modern technology means no more crackle.) Furthermore, I feel that the catchy "Sylvia", and the three compositions following it, are among the strongest stuff Focus ever did. I've never been convinced by the HAMBURGER CONCERTO, but "Focus III", here, is a gorgeous tune, deeply moving, and having it segue into the highly adventurous "Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!" (the kind of extended instrumental only true prog masters pull off) was a touch of genius. (By the way: surely Pink Floyd nicked the opening of "Focus III" for their far inferior "Pigs"?)

Back in mid-1970s Belgium, my friends and I were envious that our northern neighbours, the Dutch, were conquering the world with bands like Focus. (As well as Shocking Blue and Golden Earring, of course - to say nothing of Mouth & McNeal!) Apparently, certain Belgian prog bands were active even then (some attempting the Canterbury style!) but none of them ever cracked the international market, whereas simply everyone seemed to know Focus. More than thirty years later, I'm happy to recommend this album!

Verdict: Three-and-a-half stars.

fuxi | 3/5 |

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