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Focus - Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves] CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.09 | 639 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Buried within my dad's vinyl collection of Sabbath, Floyd and Zeppelin, there was Focus' Moving Waves. I played this album as much or more than the rest (only the first side usually--the B side was more than I could handle as a 10-year-old). After coming back to prog a few years back, I was thrilled to finally have a CD version of Moving Waves, and I still believe it sounds as fresh, and different, as it did back then. I have the first four albums by Focus, and of those, I believe this to be the second best--creativity may be on par here with Hamburger Concerto, but execution certainly is not.

Hocus Pocus. Naturally, as a kid, this song held my attention. I remember pseudo-yodelling with the neighbor boys, and a prepubescent can do a surprising approximation of van Leer. The whistles, accordian and warp-speed gibberish sections are certainly entertaining, but it all works because this song ROCKS. That guitar riff is good enough to prop up the song for nearly 7 minutes.

Le Clochard. Unfortunately short, the guitar/mellotron duo is just gorgeous. Reminds me of something up Hackett's alley.

Janis. I have always enjoyed this song. There may not me much substance, but the melody is perfectly suited to the flute, and the harmonies are memorable.

Moving Waves. Certainly an odd choice for a title track. It's some sort of imagist song, but so uniquely Focus that somehow it fits.

Focus II. Continuing the Focus series, this holds up the series quality in fine form and is a great piece of songwriting. A beautiful guitar chorus leads to an upbeat, game-show-type section, to a bluesy build for the finale. A very tight performance by all members here.

Eruption. Clearly Focus had some work to do in preparing for their magnum opus, Hamburger Concerto. This piece has some great moments, though transitions and flow are obvious flaws. The churchy intro is enjoyable, though it could be a bit more livelier or build more effectively to what comes next: a classic in-your-face Focus guitar and keyboard jam. This is inspired stuff, but the piece dies down with about 8 minutes left and really loses...well...its focus (oh the irony!). Refrains to close the epic are a good idea, but any suspense and engagement has long been spent.

A solid album that provides a different aspect of Focus from Hamburger Concerto. I would consider both of these albums as essential to any comprehensive prog collection, though Moving Waves is certainly not in masterpiece territory.

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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