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




Symphonic Prog

4.08 | 639 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I consider MOVING WAVES a near-masterpiece of symphonic prog. Some parts of the album are better than anything else Focus ever tried. Other parts do sound irritating - which prevents MOVING WAVES from being on the same level as the great 1970s classics.

The original A-side of the album opens with one of Focus' best known numbers: 'Hocus Pocus': heavy instrumental rock with virtuoso solos AND virtuoso yodelling. When my friends and I discovered this track in the seventies, we indulged in cheerful head-banging AND had a laugh - there aren't many rock songs that will allow for both experiences at the same time! The A-side continues strongly with 'Le Clochard' (ultra-romantic acoustic guitar delightfully accompanied by mellotron) and with 'Janis', an upbeat flute tune (written by guitarist Jan Akkerman) which, to Focus' credit, sounds totally unlike Jethro Tull. The title track itself sounds boring to my ears, but 'Focus 2' is probably the greatest symphonic-prog instrumental (dominated by electric guitar) to ever come out of Holland: truly beautiful, highly inventive, always carries me away, whenever I hear it!

Such a brilliant A-side raises expectations, which - unfortunately - are not quite fulfilled by 'Eruption', the 23-minute suite on the B-side. To start with, its mournful main theme (played on guitar) sounds irritating the first time you hear it, and it gets repeated so often (in between the suite's better bits) it really gets on your nerves. Fortunately, Eruption's subsidiary theme (faster and organ-dominated) is far more fun, and in the middle of the suite there's a grand symphonic moment where Akkerman performs a stately instrumental ballad (once again accompanied on mellotron) which might have given Carlos Santana the basic idea for his equally solemn 'Europe'. This lovely melody is followed by two brilliant hard-rocking solos, one by Akkerman on guitar and one by Van Leer on Hammond organ. Unfortunately, 'Eruption' soon disintegrates into melodramatic, pseudo-psychedelic sound effects (reminiscent of Nick Mason's equally forgettable 'Sisiphus' on UMMAGUMMA) followed by a 100% superfluous drum solo. To finish the whole thing off, there is yet more repetition of the initial theme.

Well, I guess we ought to be grateful for what we've got, and symphonic proggers will enjoy MOVING WAVES' better moments. Three stars and a half.

fuxi | 3/5 |


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