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Focus - Focus 8 CD (album) cover

FOCUS 8

Focus

 

Symphonic Prog

3.71 | 98 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
4 stars WHEN FOCUS MEETS SANTANA

A twenty-four years break between their poor last studio album "Focus Con Proby" (and one reunion effort from Akkerman and van Leer in 1985). This is a hell of a break, isn't it ? So, what can we honestly expect ? At this time of their career, it is rather difficult to tell which direction has chosen. Will they revert to their great symphonic sound ? Will they prolonged their jazz adventure ?

When I'm listening to the first two songs, they remind me the good old days. "Rock & Rio" appears like a poor man's "Hocus", without its craziness and frenesy but it is a good attempt of cloning. "Tamara's Move" features very pleasant fluting and some very good guitar work. Actually, Jan (the other one) will be GREAT during the whole of this album. It is full of good rhythm as well. With these two songs, I already have heard more interesting stuff than on their whole "Con Proby" stuff.

The good surprise goes on with a very symphonic "Fretless Love". Great guitar and keyboards during the intro. Things get a bit worse while some jazzy mood takes up the lead; dull in the first stage, the song will evolve again to the beautiful sounds of the intro. A mixed track actually. Brilliant at times, and boring at others.

"Hurkey Turkey" will feature some weird "vocals". The rhythm here is fully Latin-rock. The heavy keys remind me of Gregg Rolie. Do I need to tell to whom the guitar sounds like ? Yes, my friends : Mr. Carlos Santana himself ! I could add the following number to the sweet side of Santanal. Almost normal with such a title, no ? "De Ti O de Mi" is a song a la "Samba Pa' Ti". A great guitar instrumental.

I can hardly believe what I hear. Almost five good tracks in a row ! What a pleasant surprise. Focus at his best. After such a long time. It was well worth the waiting.

Would they perpetrate their excellent tradition and deliver a great "Focus" theme song ? Well, yes and no. "Focus 8" is not as good as most of its predecessors (mostly I, II and III). Not bad but not memorable either. And Focus just goes on with the good (guitar) work with "Sto Ces...". While you have passed the wierd (but short) intro, the same great Santana-like guitar work is to be heard. Another good one.

Some more yodeling of course needed to be present on this album. Just to remind us a little more some of their early repertoire. "Neurotika" shares a crazy beat with a very quite one. You know like "Hocus..." as if the yodeling was not enough. Now, some of you might find that it is a bit too much, all these Carlos-like soli; but when the melodies are so nice and the music so well played, I just say : hats off !

At this time of my review, there is really no need to tell you how the next song sounds like, right ? Just beautiful as well. You could also compare this effort to "Rajaz" from Camel. Actually the only weak number is the closing number. The grotesque "Flower Shower".

I am really pleased to welcome this great come-back album. Why didn't they produce such works during the late mid-seventies ? Anyway, it is so nice to see them back on (good) business. Let's hope they'll keep on like that.

Four stars.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |

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