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Focus - Moving Waves  CD (album) cover

MOVING WAVES

Focus

 

Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 481 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Focus is a well-respected band that I myself just cannot get into. On Moving Waves, when the band isn't being somber and boring, they are yodeling and making otherwise awful vocal noises, playing loudly and incoherently, or just being downright unpleasant, although there are a few wonderful exceptions sprinkled throughout the album. In particular, I personally find much of the lead guitar work from Jan Akkerman terribly shoddy. The second half of the album strings together a variety of musical non sequiturs, but does feature a few moments of sheer brilliance. Overall, if this were a magician's hat, we'd find no rabbit inside- only brown pellets to let us know it'd been there.

"Hocus Pocus" Moving Waves opens by with what is initially a straightforward rocker. Quite randomly, it turns into yodeling and screeching over an organ. The guitar soloing is incredibly sloppy and scarcely fits the key the rest of the band is playing in. The drum solos aren't bad but interrupt the piece (not that there was much flow to begin with). There's also what sounds like accordion and flute and whistling for good measure. I'm surprised they didn't record someone banging on a kitchen sink.

"Le Clochard" For two minutes, Focus offers well-crafted and beautiful music, even if it is essentially a classical guitar piece backed by distant Mellotron.

"Janis" The gentle feel continues, even with the addition of simplistic drumming. This is a terse piece primarily featuring bass and flute.

"Moving Waves" Gentle piano dances under an uninspired vocal performance, which is more like an incantation than singing.

"Focus II" Following two melancholic and dreary pieces, Focus offers a pleasing, sometimes upbeat instrumental with excellent guitar work, all in the vein of early Camel.

"Eruption" Hauntingly nostalgic organ and guitar open this extended piece. The title may be just a coincidence, but once the music gets rolling, it sounds extraordinarily like ELP (in fact, if I did not know Focus and I was asked what band this was, I would have answered Emerson, Lake & Palmer, as even the drumming has a Carl Palmer flavor to it). With the addition of the Mellotron, however, the sound becomes Focus once again. Indeed, "Tommy" is probably my favorite piece of Focus music, and represents them definitively for me (even though, as I said, I am not particularly fond of this band). The guitar playing is moving, and I especially like how the music abruptly stops for the guitarist to usher everyone back in again. The next segment uses exciting riffs and the whole tone scale fairly effectively before launching into a more elementary rock and roll jam. However the guitar soloing is again messy and clumsy, sometimes even falling outside of the key everyone else is playing in (to poor effect). The organ solo is boisterous and nearly blows the rest of the band away in terms of volume. The slipshod electric guitarist noodles around a while before just stopping altogether, and what is practically a new piece begins, this one featuring gentle waves of piano, organ, guitar, and flute. A distant vocal creeps in, and gives way to more soft music. Then there's a drum solo. The opening theme returns, and soon a delightful conclusion of piano, organ and flute bring the album to a close.

Epignosis | 2/5 |

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