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Focus - Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer: Focus CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.41 | 93 ratings

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2 stars Right off the bat, we have, for me, a big ol' nope! Just plain weird to me. This is how an otherwise exciting reunion of founders AKKERMAN and VAN LEER kicks off... Focus, I guess, but in the '80s! Is this opening track gospel-tinged? Or is it "Soul"? I'm not saying anything is "off limits" but a strange (unsuccessful) choice, indeed.

Really, seriously, the only track of note, in my opinion, is the one that follows: "King Kong" (thankfully, to me, not a cover of ZAPPA and them somehow contributing something worth hearing haha). Driven by flute and acoustic guitar, we also have, instead of the unfortunate (here) drum machine, hand-drums(?!), I assume. A nice choice, a nice series of choices, that make this song beautiful and interesting, while not bringing about classic Prog pomp (that one might anticipate specifically from Focus themselves). A good track that I would hope Prog fans would enjoy.

The next two tracks of any sort of note are the two epics, "Beethoven's Revenge" and "Who's Calling?" But don't get it twisted: don't waste your time on the latter (for sure). Both sound good, but are pretty static. Forgive my true (likely annoying, set-in-my-ways) colors here, but I'd rather just listen to OLDFIELD. And for me, that's saying A LOT. I also just can't (as mentioned above) get behind the drum machine much at all. Jan does sound pretty good here though (on "Beethoven's..."). I mean, I suppose you would call this "Progressive Electronic" but featuring acoustic/classical guitar. Overall, especially for the former of the two epics, better in theory than in practice. Best parts arrive in the middle section around 9:00, where van Leer gives us some tasty faux-organ.

Noch ein mal: very static. A bit of a shame. But not a big shock. Not even remotely close to a 3/5.

Now that that's out of the way, how about a little time of introspection about when this came out, 1985. Interestingly enough, and this by the way is the only reason I wanted to do this, next on my shuffle was "Marathon" by RUSH off of Power Windows, released the same year. This is by no means, for me personally, a highlight of their career, but it's still a fine song on a fine album. Rush was still relatively young and relatively hungry (and knew very well how to transform with the times). What else, of note, was released this year, 1985? Misplaced Childhood (MARILLION), Hounds of Love (Kate BUSH), Le Poison Qui Rend Fou (PRESENT), Metal Fatigue (Allan HOLDSWORTH) and Energetic Disassembly (WATCHTOWER), just to name the top 5 rated albums here!

We can look elsewhere and we should.

DangHeck | 2/5 |


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