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Paul Cusick - Focal Point CD (album) cover


Paul Cusick


Crossover Prog

3.35 | 40 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars From the moment I heard the first (and title) track of the record, I knew I was in for a treat. Very witty mixture of Crossover and Psych Prog and even some light Metal moments thrown in for good measure, this album falls in the same category of innovative modern Prog Rock as Rishloo, The Tea Club, Edensong, Tool, etc.

So I suppose I can talk about musicianship first, since that is what initially struck me. Quite clever playing, but not overly show-y. Never been a fan of the technical bands in Prog, because they tend to focus more on showing off the musicians' skills instead of best serving the music. Not a problem with this entry. Multi-instrumentalist Paul Cusick can play very well obviously, but he never overstays his welcome, and his solos are always tasteful and artful. No over-the-top progfare here, and as far as I am concerned, that is best.

The drumming is also very tasteful and correct throughout, with Alex Cromarty serving duties on the skins for the majority of the album. However for one track Frost* and IQ's Andy Edwards takes the drummer role, and both men are fantastic.

The guitar work specifically is very Floydian, but not painfully so. The similarities are present in playing style alone, and that's where the said similarities end. It is still original enough music for the seasoned Pink Floyd fans to enjoy Cusick's music without cringing.

One track in particular, ''Fade Away'', really speaks to me on an emotional level. Very soft and melodic. The following track, ''Soul Words'', is very funky and heavy, and absolutely nothing like the previous musical venture. This trend continues throughout the entire album, and ensures that the listening experiences never gets repetetive or boring, something Progressive Rock sadly has been credited very closely with being. Even worse is that the claim isn't entirely unfounded. luckily, though, this album in particular breaks that tradition and never drags or irritates. The music is always flowing and changing. Very enjoyable listen overall.

I must warn the more old-fashioned Prog listeners out there: this album may not be for you. It's Prog, no doubt, but it may not be the type of Prog you are used to hearing. At times this guy sounds more akin to Godsmack than he does Yes, but not to worry; if you keep an open mind, there is no way you could dislike the music found within. It's full of surprises just like any good Prog record sould be. I'm just saying that there are plenty of 'Alt-Rock' moments along the way, so don't go into it expecting the next King Crimson. Think more like the Crossover bands of today like Dredg, and you'll be closer to what the record is about.

I really enjoyed FOCAL POINT, and I think as long as you are willing to accept a little bit of modern rock flavor, you will enjoy it, too.

3.5 out of 5.

JLocke | 3/5 |


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