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Focus - Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In and Out of Focus] CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.49 | 329 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Knowing what Focus have accomplished (Hocus Pocus, Hamburger Concerto), it's really amazing to hear this album, because I don't hear many hints at their future ability to write concise rock or to create delicate, intricate prog, though there are notable exceptions. Uneven, at times uninspired, and in a few cases goofy, In and Out of Focus contains a fair amount of genuinely good music, but don't expect to hear a monumental statement regarding the potential of Focus.

House of the King. This is the only real prog song on the album, and while short (under three minutes), it's a great example of the uniquely Focus sound. We've got a bouncy, medieval-ish melody, foot-tappingly played by flute, guitar, and accentuated by handclaps. I can picture dancing in the village square to this!

Anonymous, Focus (instrumental). Here Focus loosen up a bit and decide to throw down some great jam-rock. They really seem to be comfortable here, and the music reflects it--fun, at times virtuosic, and not too extended. The bass seems more lively here than in future Focus, which is most welcome. Both songs begin with melodies introduced in other songs and build to very satisfying crescendos, laying down some memorable grooves along the way.

The rest... There really isn't much else of import on this album. Some of the songs remind me of a mellowed-out Syd Barrett--similar vocals and playful style. The most bizarre is Sugar Island: "this Castro makes the poor man rich, he makes the powers fail", followed by some "daba-daba" scatting. Needless to say, none of it really works, though Why Dream does have a great guitar solo to look forward to.

Worthwhile for Focus fans, but probably passable for those just getting into the band. I strongly recommend Moving Waves or Hamburger Concerto before In and Out of Focus.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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