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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
5 stars I remembered way back as a kid hearing "Hocus Pocus" on the radio, this must be around 1979 or 1980, on the FM dial. Around 1989, I heard this song again and found out it was "Hocus Pocus" and the group was called FOCUS. I thought that was silly to have a song title that rhymes with the group's name. I thought it was a rather ingenious mixing of heavy metal and yodeling.

When my interest in prog rock was on the rise around the early '90s, I was wondering if it was worth trying FOCUS, and once I got to hear "Moving Waves", I was not disappointed.

The album was entitled "Focus II" in Holland, but elsewhere, it's known as "Moving Waves". This album is definately an improvement over "In & Out of Focus". The vocal pop-oriented material of that album have been totally dropped. Original members Hans Cleuver and Martijn Dresdin had left the band to be replaced by drummer Pierre van der Linden (ex-BRAINBOX, which Jan Akkerman was a member of, by the way) and bassist Cyriel Haversman. The other two guys, who helped make FOCUS what they were, were guitarist Jan Akkerman and keyboardist/flautist Thijs van Leer. "Hocus Pocus" was actually an unintentional hit for the band, and in fact wasn't a hit in the United States until 1973, that is, not until even after their following album, "Focus 3" was released. The band thought the song as little more than a joke, but were forced to play it after it became a hit. And yes, it's true, this song is not typical for FOCUS, but I still think it's a truly wonderful song. "Le Clochard" is Jan Akkerman's time to shine, a laid-back piece played on classical guitar (with nylon strings) and nice use of Mellotron in the background. "Janis" is a flute-dominated piece from van Leer. The title track is a piano-dominated piece, and the only song with any singing, showing that Thijs van Leer isn't the best vocalist out there. It's still a nice piece with a classical feel. "Focus II" is a jazzy piece with Jan Akkerman's trademark lead guitar. The album's crowning achievement, in my opinion, is the epic "Eruption". It starts off rather mellow, dominated by Hammond organ and lead guitar. They also do a cover of a song from another Dutch band called SOLUTION in this song, in the "Tommy" section of the suite. Halfway through is a really intense and mindblowing rocking piece dominated by guitar and organ. Somewhere the band steals a LED ZEPPELIN riff ("Whole Lotta Love") before they mellow out with nice use of piano. There's also a really dramatic Mellotron passage, and then a nice drum solo from Pierre van der Linden. Previous themes on this suite resurface. Without a doubt, I feel Moving Waves is by far the best album FOCUS ever done, and this is the album you should start if you're not familiar with FOCUS.

Proghead | 5/5 |


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