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




Symphonic Prog

4.08 | 632 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 4.5 stars. This is such a classic Symphonic record that really should be in every prog fans collection. After the less than successful debut, the band changed the rhythm section bringing in Van Der Linden on drums and Havermans on bass. Both of these guys fit in perfectly with Akkerman and Van Leer, which is the biggest compliment I can give them both. Although I don't think this record is without it's faults, it reaches such lofty heights and pastoral beauty that it really does belong among the seventies greats.

"Hocus Pocus" doesn't really fit in with the rest of the climate of this album, but it's so good that I don't care. This absolutely smolders with Akkerman peeling the paint with his scorching guitar solos. The new drummer asserts himself once and for all on this track, he is incredible.The organ is a nice touch, but it's not his organ play on this song that draws most of the attention to Van Leer, it's his yodelling ! Haha. I have never got tired of this track, and it's placed perfectly as the opening song. "Le Clochard" is all Akkerman who composed it and plays classical guitar throughout. Van Leer adds some beautiful mellotron waves to add to the mood. "Janis" is a song I much prefer over the previous track. It's the incredible, emotional flute playing of Van Leer that is so moving. Yes CAMEL does come to mind. "Moving Waves" features Van Leer on vocals as he sings in a restrained manner as he plays the piano throughout. "Focus II" is another relaxing song that reminds me of CAMEL as Akkerman's guitar soars early. The tempo shifts as mellotron comes in and then more wondrous guitar. A Jazz flavour after 2 minutes as mellotron returns before piano, guitar, bass and drums end it.

"Eruption" is the side long suite at 23 minutes. It opens with mournful guitar melodies as organ can be heard in the background.This theme is repeated later in the song a few times. It becomes more energetic 2 minutes in before the mournful opening guitar and organ returns 3 minutes in. Some nice crisp drumming 4 1/2 minutes in as he continues to solo before a spacey, mellotron drenched section arrives 5 1/2 minutes in. Akkerman sounds outstanding on guitar 7 minutes in as the mellotron waves float along for what seems like minutes (it's not). Aggressive sounds return including some scorching guitar. The organ 12 1/2 minutes in is great. Piano takes over as the sound changes 14 1/2 minutes in with flute joining in. Beautiful section. Vocal melodies 16 1/2 minutes in followed 2 minutes later by another drum solo. They're back to the opening melody again 21 minutes in. Piano, organ and tasteful guitar create an uplifting final section as flute joins in like it did earlier.

This release made FOCUS famous around the world, but more importantly this is a progressive jewel.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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