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




Symphonic Prog

4.09 | 639 ratings

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3 stars Focus is Holland's proudest prog export. Their second album Moving Ways merged the bite of rock very successfully with melodious classical music. It's an inspiring album with a lot of variety and excellent pieces.

Everybody knows Hocus Pocus. The energetic rock track propelled by that great 'heavy prog' riff and Van Leers yodelling. It brings the band almost in RIO territory. It is followed by a couple of delicate instrumental pieces. Le Clochard is a brilliant one, classical acoustic guitars with a delicate mellotron background. It has a dreamy melancholic atmosphere that is reminiscent of Steve Hackett's acoustic pieces like Horizons. Janis is a flute piece similar to what Camel would produce on The Snow Goose and Moving Waves is one of the few vocal moments, very eerie and jazzy. Not unlike Gentle Giant really. Focus II is the only track that I find rather forgettable. The guitar melodies are a bit too cheesy and mellow. Not bad but certainly not my cup of tea.

After a short intro for organ and guitar, Eruption kicks off for real with a heavy rocking take on ELP, filled to the brim with Hammond organs and wild time signatures. It gives way to a pensive 70's piece with ooh-aah-vocals from Van Leer. Akkerman takes over with a weeping Santana-alike guitar solo that turns into a groovy jam session with Van Leer's organ. The vibe is rather Canterbury prog here, with a rocking sound and psychedelic vibe. It goes on for a bit too long again probably. The dreamy vocals return and a classical music influenced section follows that leads to a wild psychedelic crescendo. That should have been the end of the song but alas, there is a drum solo... Man, rock drum solos really are boring. Luckily, at a given point it ends and the track concludes by reprising some of the main themes. A Camelian closing sections ends things in beauty.

Moving Waves is an honest and creative progressive rock album. It's not perfect, at times it's even clumsy, but I believe its imperfections are charming rather then annoying. A required title for symphonic fans. 3.5 stars

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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