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Focus - Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus] CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.48 | 273 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Squirrel
3 stars Focus - In and Out of Focus,

This indeed is very good debut album from Focus. The tracks with sung lyrics are good, but I think it was a better choice to do almost entirely instrumental music after this album. I consider Focus as a pioneer of some sort in progressive rock. They were never super famous, but a known prog rock band from the Netherlands. This album came out very early. Keep in mind that it was the end of sixties when progressive music started to breath. This album is very interesting piece of music when thinking about that.

For me, the humour that blooms in their music, keeps it alive and very enjoyable. This piece has it, and the following albums will play with it much more. Of course there are many other things that makes their music great. I love their work, but this debut album is not as good as the following albums are. As a debut, this is good. Fine lyrics, but what really bothers me is the fact that my album's booklet include only commercials about other albums from Focus. The use of flutes are good, keyboards sound fine, guitarring, drumming and bass playing is good. But nothing more.

The album begins with 'Focus (Vocal)', which is very calm track with soft vocals. I enjoy this song much as a starter. 'Black Beauty' is very rocky song. Not very prog, but a good song. 'Sugar Island' is very funny, cheerful and happy song with great flutes. Very fine track. The next bit is excellent. Top notch I would say. The legendary 'Anonymus' shows the talent of the musicians well. It include solos from all the instruments and what a fine solos they are. The sequel of this song much better, but this fits in this album perfectly as an talent impresser. 'House of the King' uses the same melody as both of the "anonymus" tracks use. Floating acoustic guitars with good flute jamming. Short, average guitar solo in the middle. Fine track. 'Happy Nightmare (Mescaline)' begins with sad vocals. Tender vocals in calm music. Very funky guitars in the song. Good, melodic pianos. The song ends as it started. 'Why Dream' has interesting lyrics. "Why dream about the future?". "Now is the present" and things like that, Carpe Diem. Perhaps Thijs is trying to say, that it is better to realize that we live always in the present, and dreaming about the future only mess things, but ends up in the fact that everyone dreams. The last song, 'Focus (Instrumental)' is great track. Marvellous guitar solos and keyboards are great. Good, energetic drumming. Melodic flutes, and funky basses. This represents what focus really is. Great finisher.

All in all, this is a good album. It definitely is not a masterpiece of progressive music, and I wouldn't say that it is excellent addition to any prog music collection. But the three star rating's title fits perfectly. This album is good, but non-essential. If you like Focus, and their work and do not own this album, it is worth of buying. But if you are not familiar about the band and their music, I suggest to start somewhere else, like 'Moving Waves' or perhaps the masterpiece 'Hamburger Concerto'. Though anyone who's a fan of progressive rock, could like this, so do not avoid this album. 3/5 stars.

The Squirrel | 3/5 |


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