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



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4 stars My favorite album along with Hamburger Concerto. Moving Waves contains their famous hit "Hocus Pocus" and also included is " Eruption" which is great prog Piece over 23 minutes. Every track is very Good or Excellent.Its music played with great feeling and emotion. Its calm at times energetic for the rest and all nicely balanced. Its a Rock and Classical Fusion done by masters of the Prog Art.
Report this review (#22873)
Posted Wednesday, November 19, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is one of the few albums that is put together and sounds great as a album. It's what an album should be and it is. I highy recomend you to listen to the 2nd side of the album, because the song eruption shows that this group was very a very talented group and sounds great together. If you like classic Rock then this is the album to buy
Report this review (#22875)
Posted Thursday, December 18, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars timeless music, classical,jazz,rock,they combined theirs talents and create something to last, if you like good music you'll become a Focus fan.Zeppelin is my favorite group but Focus is my special group, this album together with "Hamburger Concerto" and "Focus III" are the best music that any rock group has ever produce.
Report this review (#22886)
Posted Sunday, January 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars This is the first of their classic album and includes Hocus Pocus which is their pinnacle (and also their best known hit) . Almost gone are the vocals of havermans and what remains will be handled much more brilliantly by kb/flautist Tijs van Leer. Jan Akkerman was getting better with each album beit from Focus or his own solo ones. Pierre Vanderlinden also comes in the picture.

So the album starts off at 100 mph with Hocus Pocus and its really fun yoddling. But after that track there is not that much happening on the rest of side 1 except for a reworking of their Focus theme. The title track is back to the horrible vocals of their debut. Le clochard has nothing much going on also.The Eruption suite on the side 2 leaves me bored and I have problems understanding howsome people manage to defend it as there is NOTHING happening over those 20+ mins.

This album came out again with two covers, one horrendously pink and blue named Focus 2 and a second one with ripples in water and their faces over it , still retainig pink and blue overtones , but named Moving Waves. this album is vastly over-rated IMHO and is at best good but non-essential except for Hocus Pocus.

Report this review (#22888)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars A seminal work. Not only contains one of their 2 'hits' - Hocus Pocus, but also the superb Le Clochard and Eruption. An essential album for anyone wanting classic prog rock music. Better than Live at the Rainbow and Focus III. It's worth looking out Thijs van Leer's solo work too, his classical pieces are very good.
Report this review (#22889)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Moving Waves" is an easy to like classic prog recording. This is my favorite FOCUS release from their repertoire. "Moving Waves" contains some killer prog moments with classical piano and outrageous guitar riffs. "Hocus Pocus" is their signature piece with the famous yodeling of Thijs Van Leer. I love the gooves these guys get into and the presence of the 'ol Mellotron and classic guitar rock gives "Moving Waves" a high ranking on my all time favorite list.
Report this review (#22881)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Moving Waves is one of the best albums i've ever heard. The opening track Hocus Pocus is a true classic, as fresh sounding now as it was over 30 years ago when it was made. Janis is another great track, of totally different kind. mellow and relaxing. The album ends with 23 minutes of eruption, a kind of mythalogical conversation in music. The only part of the album to dissapiont is the tital track which fails to fulfill its promise, but can't detract from the rest of this masterpiece in music.
Report this review (#22882)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This Netherlandish progressive masterpiece is one of the most hard rock progressive album made during that era: indeed Jan Akkerman's incisive and razor electric guitars are omnipresent: pure hard rock solos a la Led Zeppelin, and barely less timid aggressive riffs. The drums are restless, very complex and fast. The keyboards mostly consist in organ, mellotron, piano and harmonium. The intensely yodeling of Thijs Van Leer on "Hocus Pocus" is LEGENDARY: you are going to want to sing it! "Le clochard" has a beautiful floating mellotron in the background and impressive & relaxing acoustic guitar parts that should impress Steve Hackett himself. The peaceful and rhythmic "Janis" contains mellow flute parts a la Camel. The lead vocals on "Moving Waves" remind me early King Crimson. "Focus 2" is an OUTSTANDING very progressive track: Jan Akkerman "dances" with his melodic electric guitar: it seems that the other instruments follow his partitions, creating very structured and pleasant melodies through rhythm & air changes.

On side 2, the epic "Eruption" is a REAL progressive masterpiece, sometimes comparable to Jethro Tull's "Thick as a brick": the same organ sounds, tons on drums, very melodic bass, straightforward hard rock electric guitars; there are some intensely floating mellotron & backing vocals parts; there is a part which was composed by the Netherlandish fusion band Solution, coming from the "Divergence" album; there is a poignant & melodic piano part, accompanied with electric guitar and flute; the drum solo is absolutely impressive, having a bit the Neil Peart's style.


Report this review (#22897)
Posted Thursday, April 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Focus' most famous album and one of my all-time favorite albums from any genre, "Moving Waves" broke the band in the U.S. on the strength of the classic guitar-riff and bizarre yodeling of "Hocus Pocus". If you dare to venture beyond that track, there is the gorgeous classical guitar styling of "Le Clochard", flute solos; proving that Jethro Tull is not the only band to use the instrument effectively in a rock setting, and jazz-rock excursions. Side two is comprised of the 20+ minute "Eruption" that stands on par with any side long epic of its era, complete with sweeping epic themes and more monster guitar riffs from Jan Akkerman.
Report this review (#22878)
Posted Monday, April 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Dick Heath
Jazz-Rock Specialist
3 stars Originally the houseband for the Dutch theatrical production of "Hair", this album introduced the greater European audience to the masterful playing of Jan Akkermann and Thij Van leer, who were to go on to carve separate careers in jazz and jazz rock.

The album was produced by the legendary Mike Vernon and was released through Polydor in the UK but with his Blue Horizon association well displayed. Perhaps Vernon had thought he had discovered another band to follow in the bluesy rock footsteps of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack or (alas, the forgotten) Duster Bennett. However, enthuiasm for British blues had cooled and besides Focus were a jazz-based musicians who used rock rhythms and threw in occasional English lyrics to their songs. An edited version of the novelty song "Hocus Pocus" with yodelling, piano accordion and all, got UK radio play and they were a hit.

This album will appeal to jazz rock fans and to those who like excellently played solos. It should also be used to remind fans where Jan Akkerman start from before now being one of Europe's premier guitarists. However, it is one of those albums that bought on the day of its release in the UK, I can't say it has come down from the shelf that regularly in the last decade. Once seen live circa 1973, Focus were one of the few bands that had me leaving a gig well before it was finished - an interminable dull drum solo did it to me and perhaps a degree of sameyness in many tunes (but that was the British drummer not the original ).

Report this review (#22879)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Focus' second release 'Moving Waves' signifies an undoubtful symptom that the band has already conquered their own musical maturity. No question about van Leer's and Akkerman combined (and competitive) genius in terms of writing and performing are more polished and more ambicious as well... but the main factor of this evolution is the entry of drummer extraordinaire Pierre van der Linden, whose mastery in precise and powerful capacity to handle demanding time signatures is only equalled by his ability to influence effectively on the melodic aspect of the tracks with his cleverly administered rolls and other percussive tricks. His work therefore becomes the anchor that sustains the flow of the main writers' efforts and performances. 'Hocus Pocus' is a notable example of energetic rock infected with exhalarating humour: no wonder it went on to become one of Focus' most celebrated and emblematic tunes (I'm sure there's myriads of us prog-heads that every now and then do that catchy yodelling, at least mentally). But it is melancholy and reflectiveness that get hold on most of the rest of the material - the classically oriented trend of 'Le Clocharde', the half-contained sadnesss of 'Janis', and the ethereal mood of the title track consecutively show us the most overtly elegant side of Focus' music. That same sense of elegance goes on in 'Focus II', a classy exercise in jazz fusion, still infused with the general ambience of melancholy displayed in tracks 2-4, yet enriched with a copule of well crafted high-spirited interludes. And then... the intense suite 'Eruption' covers the last 23 minutes of the album, making endless transitions from languid grace (the Orfeus parts) to pompous fire (the Answers parts) to slow blues (Pupilla/Tommy) to red hot excitement (The Bridge) to serene beauty (the Euridice parts) to impending doom (Dayglow)... and let's not forget the stunning drum solo, performed by a van der Linden that feels more like a "force of nature" than an actual person. All in all, 'Eruption' is a superbly conceptually organized piece of music that closes the album with grandeur and class. Ive got nothing else to say - 5 stars!!
Report this review (#22880)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hamburger Concerto is the better album - by far - But "Hocus Pocus" is THE song of FOCUS. Listen to a Dutch band yodelling - Jan Ackermann and his band made it possible. 5 stars for "Hocus Pocus" and 3 stars for the rest of the songs ...
Report this review (#22891)
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars

As a progressive rock outfit my first fear was that Focus might tend to over play the situation and border on that prog trend by wallowing in self saturated pomposity. But hailing form the Netherlands I'm sure these Dutch geezers had more than a few tokes of the herbal delights on offer in Amsterdam which helps in relaxing the mood, yet giving the tunes what they need and not simply elevate themselves to full blown planet ego trips. "Hocus Pocus" is the so called center piece of the album and sure enough, it's a rip roaring rock fest of guitars played at a menacing pace and volume but the album is far more deep and interesting than that. I have always had an inept fear of yodelling, and when I first heard there was yodelling on this track I stood back in shock and tried to aviod it as much as I could. But once I purchased Moving Waves I had to overcome that fear and I have to say its not that bad, strange yes, but I could certainly deal with it, aided by Jan Akkerman's awesome guitar throwing shapes and that steaming flute piece near the end make "Hocus Pocus" a spectacular opener and my stereo was so loud I thought the neighbours might freak out a little. It's not every day you get to hear yodelling and a flute solo in a hard driving rock song. They were in for a treat but they would never see it like that. But every once in a while the dust must be shaken form those 100WATT speakers whether they like it or not.

As the years have passed I seemed to have somewhat mellowed. Time was when I would have expected a band to continue in the relentless vein of "Hocus Pocus" for an album's duration regardless of how could it would even appear to be. But after been assaulted by that opener we are then taken off to a completely different but still fitting plane, in line with the album title, with the sublime and beautifully melodic tone of "Le Clochard", built with some sweet classical influenced guitar playing and aided by some obligatory mellotron which sounds so graceful for the whole 1 minute and 55 seconds. "Janis" moves more waves with an uplifting flute flurry spitting up and down and a meticulously played sympathetic bass, by now I'd completely forgotten about the raging intro, I was completely mesmerized and satisfied by the bands merits with these compositions and I was not even half way through. Until I heard the vocals on "Moving Waves", which gatecrashed my semi-stoned mood, albeit for a very short while before one of the albums highlights "Focus II" which closes side 1. It's a stunning piece and it's where Focus move toward jazz fusion territory, Theijs Van Leer joining Akkerman as another fine composer on this album. Jeff Beck must have taken his cue from this album for his fusion album Blow By Blow, there are more than a few similarities on this track and with some of the work Beck did with Blow By Blow a few years later.

Flipping over to the B side (do not try this with CDs) I was psyching myself up for what looked a rough half hour or so. "Eruption" is a suite made up of five sections containing no less than 15 parts, or rather short segments. As a concept it's a little loose, starts very well with some shining and smooth guitar keyboard interplay, again it's more fusion that prog with a kind nod to classical music... but really shifts between those different guises. Simply put the four musicians who make up Focus are pretty clever and thoughtful and it beggars belief why they remain relatively unknown. "Eruption" is an ambitious piece of music that loses focus (ahem) here and there but Moving Waves is still a powerful album, certainly a gem of the prog crown and the band blend different styles that are cohesive and never clumsy or boring. Like on "Eruption", Akkerman's guitar bursts in and he delivers a warm energetic solo without ever treading on any of his band members toes as every note seems to be exercised with complete control and thought to the rest of the composition or its particular section, even that mini drum solo was tolerable. I'm not exactly a prog convert yet but give me more albums like this and I might just be swayed.

Report this review (#22892)
Posted Sunday, September 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album was released in my country in 1973 by Polydor, with "Sylvia" and "Love Remembered" from the album "Focus 3" replacing "Le Clochard" and "Janis" (I don`t know if this also happened in other countries). This L.P. sounds good with these 2 songs. But it was until years later that I knew that the original version of the album have "Le Clochard" and "Janis". As I have the CD, I write my review about the original album. "Hocus Pocus" is a very good song, with great guitars by Jan Akkerman and some humour by Thijs van Leer using his yodelling and vocals in a funny way. In the late eighties I watched on T.V. a video clip of a live version of this song, and Akkerman and the rest of the band (I don`t think that the drummer was Pierre van der Linden, but maybe the bassist was Bert Ruiter) were smiling and almost laughing when van Leer was doing his yodelling and the other humorous things he did in this song. This is the "heaviest" song in this album, and maybe their most known song.This album has some of the best uses of a mellotron in Progressive Rock. This is reflected in "Le Clochard" and "Focus II"."Le Clochard" is a song with acoustic guitar and mellotron, but without drums. "Janis" has some flutes by van Leer. "Moving Waves" is a very good song played only with the piano and with some English language lyrics (and good lyrics, too). The piano playing in this song really makes me imagine the "moving waves in the ocean".The song "Focus II" is my favourite. An instrumental piece where the guitar plays the melody, while the rest of the band does a very good arrangement. Van Leer uses the piano, the organ, and also plays very good mellotron arrangements. A song composed, arranged and played with feeling, really. "Eruption" is also very good, a musical piece with several parts and several styles of music put together, it includes influences by jazz, rock and classical music, plus some vocals which sound to me like "Gregorian Chants" (like the group ENIGMA from the 90s). It also has a very good drums solo by van der Linden. For me, this was the best line-up of the band, really sounding like they worked as a team for this album. This album is another great album recorded in 1971.In some websites dedicated to Focus, I found that the original Dutch version was released as "Focus II", with a different cover.
Report this review (#22894)
Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Everything from proto-metal, jazz, classical composer rippoffs and rustic images can be heard on this masterful textbook example of what art-rock was all about during it`s years of dominance in the early `70s from this Dutch rock quartet which at the time comprised Thijs van Leer on flute, keyboards and vocals, Jan Akkerman on guitar, Pierre van der Linden on drums and Cyril Havermans on bass.

More of a novelty track than anything else, the outlandish album opener Hocus Pocus nonetheless awakened the world to the guitar vituosity of Jan Akkerman sending him to the top of numerous guitar polls and causing budding young guitar heroes everywhere to drool all over themselves. A non compos mentis composition featuring hysterical yodelling, speed-of-light guitar passages and maniacal drum fills, however unrepresentitive of Focus`raison d`etre, it put them on the record charts on both sides of the Atlantic, the first rock band from continental Europe to do so. Covered by several heavy metal bands over the years including Iron Maiden and German metal band Helloween it was originally contrived from from a drum riff by Pierre van der Linden during a studio jam even though he never recieved a writing credit . The band recorded it as a parody of the art rock movement which they considered was getting a bit too serious at the time. It runs into a brief pastoral guitar interlude entitled Le Clochard which has one wondering whether or not this is same band after the initial onslaught of the potent Hocus Pocus. Janis moves into instrumental pop territory whereas the title track is a subdued madrigal-like vocal accompanied by a piano. Focus II, a worthy successor to Focus I from the In And Out Of Focus debut combines jazz and classical motifs beautifully in a rock context which features some haunting guitar lines by Akkerman.

The centerpiece of the work, the Eruption suite which occupies a whole side on the original vinyl issue, is an elucidation of the 16th century Italian operatic composer Jacobi Peri`s opera Euridice ( sort of ). Although not as overblown as ELPs interpretations of the classics, it contains contemporary flute, guitar, organ and percussion improv sections which, although demonstrating the individual band members`musical prowess creates some continuity problems particularily Akkerman`s guitar sections. But for the most part it remains fluid and does do jusiice to the original Peri work.

My only compunction with this art-rock masterpiece aside from the continuity problems encountered in Eruption is the track running sequence. Opening the work with the rather frivolous Hocus Pocus is somewhat misleading considering the profoundness of what is to occur later on the more structured music, it would have been more appropriate to place it at the conclusion as a grand finale. Still and all this does not warrant the deduction of any stars from what is simply one of the most brilliant art-rock recordings ever etched into vinyl.

Report this review (#22896)
Posted Friday, November 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#22898)
Posted Sunday, March 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Moving waves" isn't a perfect album but clearly a must have for all 70's proglovers.

Hocus Pocus : a "simple" song based on a great guitar riff, drums breaks, and a very original type of singing ( yodel ) : perfectly original, exciting and very funny. Le clochard : an acoustic guitar plays a very classical melody with mellotron in the backgound. Not bad, not good, just a transition. Janis : great melody. The song is dominated by Van Leer flute and flows so easily ...if you appreciate Camel's music I think you'll appreciate this one. Moving Waves : a piano-voice song composed as a lieder, but singing is really too bad. Focus II: great song with a fantastic interplay ( listen especially to drums : Van der Linden is certainly one of the greatest drummer of the 70's ). Eruption : a long instrumental piece. First 9 minutes are wonderful, progressive rock at his best : very melodic, imaginative and full of emotion. Then come 7 minutes of improvisation not totally consistent : some good moments but too long. The last 8 minutes are more structured but not as good as the first part of the song.

Focus isn't generally considered as one of the prog masters but have to be re-discovered. Moving Waves is a very good point to begin for those who don't know this dutch band.

Report this review (#22899)
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars this is a great album, the sounds here are very melodic and very siut. the guitar here is amaizing and the flute what can i say, just superb. from the begining to the end this album make you feel relaxed and enjoied. this is siut progressive and very influnecial by the classic music. very recomended for anyone who wants to hear a fine pice of dutch music.
Report this review (#22900)
Posted Sunday, April 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Many people consider Moving Waves as the "Non Plus Ultra" Focus release, something with what I don't agree because Hamburger Concerto is slightly better and more mature, despite this fact Moving Waves is an excellent album, but also for different reasons than most people consider.

As many prog' newbies, I bought this vinyl in 1978 mostly because it had Hocus Pocus, a bizarre track that helped to make the band famous, but which honest today is my least favorite song from this good album, not only because after a couple listens you get bored of all that yodeling and shouting but mostly because it breaks the soft and dreamy atmosphere prevalent in the rest of the album.

Now that years have passed I appreciate more the coherent way that the music gently flows from start to end, the skills of Jan Akerman with acoustic an electric guitar, the medieval or more precisely baroque keyboard and perfect flute by Thijs Van Leer, the powerful support provided by the good bassist Cyril Havermanns and of course the precise drumming by Pierre Van Der Linden, in other words a strong and mature band.

Before reviewing the songs I would like to mention that the title of the album describes perfectly what Focus achieved, because the music flows gently after Hocus Pocus until the end as the waves in the Ocean, a perfect name to give an idea of the album.

The album starts with the already mentioned Hocus Pocus, a very simple song based in a couple of chords (if not one) interrupted four times by a short drum solo and a different yodeling or sound by Thijs Van Leer, musically is not solid, even when they prove the versatility and vocal ability of Thijs but IMO is more important the strong bass by Havermmans, funny and entertaining song, but nothing more.

Le Clochard is a extremely beautiful song that shines even more as a contrast with the frantic Hocus Pocus, Jan Akkerman plays acoustic guitar in Flamenco style, something very common in Holland because the zone of Flanders covers not only Spain as most people believe but also part of Belgium and The Netherlands. Delicate, coherent and beautiful, a perfect relief in this point of the album.

Janis is also a soft track, but in this case the lead is taken by Thijs and his magic flute, perfectly supported by the rest of the band but especially by Pierre Van Der Linden accurate drums. A dreamy song that I use to listen when I'm in a bad mood, instantly relaxes and makes me see the world with a more positive perspective.

Moving Waves is a good song performed exclusively by Thijs Van Leer, who starts with a soft piano intro to open the way for something very unusual in Focus, he starts to sing, and does it with a very nice and appropriate voice that makes me wonder why he doesn't do this more often, a beautiful and again soft track.

One of the best songs in Focus career is Focus II, the best example of their unusual style, the song is opened by Thijs and his keyboards that are soon joined by Jan's guitar, the music goes in crescendo until the drums announce a small explosion where the rest of the band join, but always keeping the dreamy and soft atmosphere, by moments they have a clear jazz influence but with that unique sound that only Focus is capable of creating, this is IMO one of the most progressive tracks I ever heard but in a different way than any other band, simply delightful.

Side two (in the original vinyl format) consists in a 23 minutes epic divided in 16 nominal but not real parts because there's no break between each one called Eruption. This epic is based in two characters of Greek Mythology Orfeus (Creator of music) and the nymph Euridice, his bride who dies and is followed by Orfeus to the underworld in an attempt to rescue her, but in the last moment everything she returns to the underworld because he looses the faith.

It's almost an impossible task to analyze this song part by part, because there are so many changes that go from the baroque introduction by Thijs Van Leer's keyboards, jazzy passages and psychedelic sections to progressive and even semi hard rock parts.

Maybe the most important and unusual characteristic of this long track is that even when the changes are really dramatic, they manage to maintain the soft atmosphere across the heaviest parts. Definitely an underrated epic, almost never mentioned in progressive polls, but which deserves much more recognition, 23.04 minutes of pure progressive rock in the unique style of Focus.

I won't give 5 stars to the album because as said before I consider Hamburger Concerto slightly better, but Moving Waves is very close, sadly there isn't a 4.5 option, so I have to rate it with 4 solid and well deserved stars.

Report this review (#22901)
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was the first album that I heard, and what an introduction it was. Hocus Pocus, their most famous track, is the most perfect opener possible. Thijs Van Leer's yodelling does get somewhat irritating after listening to this track too much, but it is but a minor blemish on what is one the most musically advanced and experimental tracks by Focus. The next four tracks are decent, nothing too remarkable, but still very good, showing off Akkerman's guitar skills and Van Leer's flute. The main track on this album, though, is the epic 'Eruption'. This track replaced 'Close to the Edge' as my favourite epic track. The guitar work on it is just brilliant, the drums are jaw-dropping, in fact, everything about the track just screams 'epic!' The riffs are unforgettable and the track explores everything from hard rock to medieval sounds. In my eyes, this album is a masterpiece of prog rock. Five stars.
Report this review (#22902)
Posted Sunday, May 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Of course, everyone knows this release because of "Hocus Pocus", which is THE novelty hit of the progressive rock era, what with Thijs van Leer's yodelling, whistling and cartoon voices over proto-metal guitar riffs. It was also highly out-of-character for the band. The rest of the A-side-the acoustic guitar spotlight piece "Le Clochard (Bread)", the gentle flute-fronted "Janis", the pensive vocal ballad "Moving Waves" and the soaring guitar-based prog number "Focus II"-is far more indicative of the band's style.

This was also the first Focus album to attempt and out-and-out epic, with the 23-minute "Eruption" suite. It's a propulsive piece, full of forceful momentum, packed to the gills with great organ playing from van Leer, fine guitarwork from Akkerman. Unfortunately the momentum comes to a dead stop for "Endless Road", the drum solo, and never really regains it. Why did bands ever think that drum solos in the recording studio were EVER a good idea?

Report this review (#45529)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
5 stars My favourite Focus album. It's not entirely perfect, but the best bits are astonishing and compensate for a few flaws on side one. The album starts with Hocus Pocus, a frenetic blend of keyboards, scything guitar, flute and yodelling backed up by bass and drums. It's an assault on the mind and quite unique and brilliant. Van Leer's vocal range is amazing; he can yodel so high it hurts! The remaining tracks on side one are quieter and less manic; they are all pleasant and reflect the classical leanings of the musicians but Cyril Haverman's vocals on Moving Waves are not really to my taste. Havermans left after this album; he was a fine bassist but his vocals were not up to the job. Janis, with its exquisite flute work, and Focus 2 are the pick. The second side is a number of pieces linked into one; 23 minutes of complete genius except for a slightly boring drum solo (Endless Road). The highlight of all this brilliance is Tommy, a reworking of a piece by Tom Barlage of Solution. Akkerman produces some fabulous guitar solos with melody and lightning fast fretwork and van Leer propels the piece along with dynamic organ work. This one is up there with Close to the Edge and Supper's Ready - in fact it's my favourite of the three.

This album combines hard rock, classical and prog at times and is well worth buying. Probably strictly worth 4.5* given the imperfections but in this case, I'm rounding it up!

Report this review (#46240)
Posted Saturday, September 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hocus Pocus had already passed me by when I got 'Moving Waves' from Sid's second hand record shop on the Oxford Road in Reading. What has always captured me since is the much-maligned 'B' side, with Eruption.

Jan Akkerman's guitar on this is simply awesome and has meant I have spent many a long hour arguing his talents above those of other 1970's axe-smiths. I've never been a die-hard prog-rocker and actually smashed up a mates copy of 'Trick in the Tail' whilst post-punk protest mode. I've consistently stuck by Akkerman despite some really bad jazz LPs, mainly because of Eruption

FOCUS will always have Moving Waves as their most notable album, and yes above Hamburger Concerto. Hocus Pocus is not used to baffle my kids, but Eruption is still the best 30 minute track by any band. Long live FOCUS

Report this review (#50432)
Posted Friday, October 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This must one of the best albums i've heard. it's simply amazing from start to finish. the first track Hocus Pocus very enjoyable nice guitars and keys. next three tracks are so relaxing and beautiful you can feel really pleasant listening to them. Focus II it's very good, it prepares us for what's coming next Eruption which is one of the greatest epics of symphonic prog clockin' in at 23 minutes full of great keyboards, lenghtly guitar/keys solos and a great ending.

Symphonic Prog as its finest. Highly recommended to all 70's prog lovers. what else can i say. give Moving Waves a try and you will love it!!!.

Report this review (#60535)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars For sure, this is Focus' very best album. There are absolutely NO weak tracks here, and the piece "Eruption" that fills the complete Side Two of the LP, contains some very beautiful classical composition and excellent guitar- and drum-solo's. Akkerman and van der Linden are the true masters here, although Thijs van Leer is the leader of the band and writes most of the music. The playing is outstanding, the music really swings and grooves like (****) !! Of course, classic Hocus Pocus opens the album, but I always thought the U.S. Single Version, which was recorded with the next line-up (with Bert Veldkamp on bass-guitar) is more powerful and compact. Le Clochard is a nice acoustic piece, and Janis contains a nice melody on flute (note the great drums here too!). Focus II, to me, is the most beautiful and compact track Focus ever wrote and played. Just 4 minutes of stunning variety, lovely melodies and emotional playing. To return to the 20-minute piece Eruption, it's pure magic and a great listening-experience. Moving Waves (originally called simply "Focus II" and nicer cover-art) is a masterpiece of progressive music. No weak tracks and Focus' artistically highest achievement. Check it out!
Report this review (#68929)
Posted Friday, February 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars An album I've heard for a long long time, which I find myself surprised for not reviewing it before as it is an album I played numerous times and Hocus Pocus was a favourite of mine when I was little. This is an album where the band has two styles: the Rocking Focus and Camel-like beautiful passages.

Hocus Pocus starts the album with a bang. This is a timeless rock&roll piece mixed with a bit of humor. The main riff is played throught the whole song's verses, yet it is so energetic that it never bores you. The bass and drums are virtuosic and perfectly done. The choruses contain descending yodeling (hilarious) accompained by a great sounding hammond organ. There are some instrumental breaks with solos including guitar (rocking), overdubbed flutes (crazy), accordeon+whistling (funny) and goofy vocals+organs (funny). It never bores me, and should be a great tune to show to your friends about what a prog band can do with rock&roll.

The rest of the album doesn't dissapoint either, unless you want the album to be humorous. It isn't. It actually sounds nothing like Hocus Pocus:

Le Clochard is a romantic acoustic interlude that helps you get in the mood to the more melodic side of Focus.

Janis is a laid back romantic song with a gorgeous flute melody. This song's style is similar to Camel's mid 70s sound. That being said, if you like Camel, you'll go nuts over this gem.

Moving Waves has the singer singing in a style that reminds you of Greg Lake. You could think of this song as what would have been if Greg's ballads had piano instead of acoustic guitars.

Focus II, like Janis, is a Camel-like song that blows away that band! A beautiful song with amazing melodies played by soaring guitars. The guitars are excellent in this track and the other instruments follow it perfectly, especially the drumming. Even better than Janis, this is a perfect song that will give you goosebumps. Magical!

Eruption is the reason why I don't give this album 5 stars. It loses "focus" after the great first 8 minutes of the song (It is still great though) and ruins itself once the drum solo begins. Still, there is a lot to enjoy in this track, especially the beginning of it which may be a highlight of the disc. I LOVE that Santana-like guitar playing on minute 6 for example. I won't describe the track's evolution during its 23 minutes, but I'll tell you it's mostly all good, even if it is not very consistent.

This is probably the best album I've heard from the Netherlands, but I have yet to discover their Hamburgo Concerto album.

Highlights: Hocus Pocus, Janis, Focus II, Eruption's first 8 minutes.

Let Downs: Eruption's last 6 minutes.

My Grade : B+

Report this review (#79749)
Posted Monday, May 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Focus is one of my favourite bands. I love to listen them, their intrumental progressive rock. They have that great sense of humour too. I am talking about the dutch masterminds Thijs van Leer and Jan Akkerman. They together are Focus, with the changing rhythm section.

This is my second favourite album of Focus. The album contains calm and emotional songs, as well as rocky and more powerful trakcs. It is very decent and not too long album. The songs:

The album starts of with the legendary riff of the legendary song Hocus Pocus. If someone has heard about Focus, he/she has heard about Hocus Pocus. The song is great, but it's little overrated. It has the same structure throughout the song, but I would still call it prog even it structurally is not. Le Clochard is beautiful and emotianal song. Very melodic. Janis is all about one flute melody, though its good, they could've just add that melody to somewhere else. My least favourite track of the album. Moving Waves is another calm and emotional track. Very soft vocals and beautiful music. The next song, Focus II is basic stuff from Focus, all the Focus-named songs are the same type. They all are very good songs including this one. The last song is the epic 20 minute Eruption. It is not a masterpiece, though it is very good. But too long compared to its quality. They could've cut things out.

All in all this album is very good, not essential: a masterpiece of progressive music, but an excellent addition to any prog music collection. If you are not familiar with the band, this or Focus III is a great place to start.

Report this review (#79994)
Posted Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars " Hocus Pocus" threw me off balance as a start to this album but Moving Waves is a great jazz rock album with much progressive influence and feel to it. The ' Eruption' suite on side 2 is an epic track with very much a Canterbury feel to the sound in parts as well. Jan Akkerman and co certainly contributed a great deal to the genre representing The Netherlands along with Golden Earring etc in the 70's. Focus only managed two albums before desolving but worthy ones at that. ' Janis' and ' Focus II' are other great tracks. This album has excellent guitar, keyboards and mix of jazz and rock. One can only wonder how they would have evolved as a group after 1972, even though individually some members went on in different directions. A solid affair.
Report this review (#102526)
Posted Monday, December 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Focus' second album had been probably their commercially most successful one and the fact that it contained their best-known song and biggest hit "Hocus Pocus" contributed a lot to this. I think almost every middle-aged rock fan whether into Prog or not has heard at least once in his life this unusual hard rock song with its funny yodeling. Being undeniably still a very entertaining listen yet one has to admit as well that this song isn't anything special in terms of compositional quality. Side one of the original vinyl continues in a pace that drastically differs from this rocking and catchy opener with the short acoustic guitar piece "Le clochard" and the flute-dominated "Janis" which are both pleasant tracks but not any reason at all for ranking this album as a masterpiece. Then there's the title track which is also short and consists mainly of solo piano plus vocals that sound a bit too cheesy at least to my ears. That one isn't a real winner for me, rather the next one "Focus II" which is probably still the best one of this side. It's a theme that has been followed up by the band like a thread over several records and also taken up in the Eruption-suite which, typically for Focus, occupies the whole second side. I would rather disagree to some people's assessment this lengthy track consisting of altogether 15 small pieces is mere jammin'. Though revealing that the band's strength lies more in the extraordinary skills of the individual musicians than in songwriting and composing qualities it's nonetheless an enjoyable versatile piece of music combining influences from classical, jazz and rock. Switching back and forth from classically inspired, sometimes Emersonian keyboard parts with pleasant Mellotron choirs to more jazzy and jam-rocking ones with brilliant solo demonstrations by all musicians it's neither a perfect composition nor a boring affair at all. This second half is for me clearly the better one of this album and would deserve a rating of 3 ˝ if not 4 stars which isn't the case for the first side. Thus I'd rank this one rather as a very good but subdued effort compared to their next two albums which I consider more essential. But as usual it depends on personal taste preferences and anyway this one might be worth to be checked out by fans of skillful solo presentations.
Report this review (#103575)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Is this Focus best album or is it Hamburguer Concerto? Well i don´t know i think it´s just a matter of taste. This album is just amazing, it runs perfectly from start to finish, Hocus Pocus starts the album and it´s Focus most popular song and what a great song it is showing one of Focus main characteristics which is a very strange sense of humor, awesome guitar by Akkerman and well those crazy vocals by Thijs van Leer just fit perfectly, second track is Le Clochard a lovely piece by Akkerman, then comes Janis which is also a beatiful song. Track four is Moving Waves featuring awesome vocals and keyboards by Thijs van Leer. Focus III comes next and it´s one of my favorites excellent song. So when you thought this couldn´t do better comes Eruption, an epic masterpiece and arguably Focus best song , Akkerman does an unbelievable interpretation here, one of the best guitar players of the 70´s for sure, Thijs van Leer plays amazing keyboards and flute also (as always).

So overall every song on the album is amazing and it runs so smoothly, an almost perfect album and definitely a masterpiece of proggresive rock.

Report this review (#110555)
Posted Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Best Focus album, undoubtely.

The tittle track is a short, magic song with great piano works. Le clochard is the first Akkerman's accoustic guitar song on Focus, and with the mellotron it gets a special atmosphere... simply awesome. Janis, also composed by Akkerman, is a simple and beautiful flute piece, and Focus II, with Jan's guitar, the wonderful organ of Thys, the jazzy interludes and beat changes make this track one of the best songs of the band's discography. I think (and I don't want to have problems with Focus fans) that the famous opening track is so interesting, but so repetitive... Of course, it's a gem into symphonic rock history, but Hocus Pocus is a little overrated... However, this is a good starting to this masterpiece.

Eruption is the perfect example to make an over 20-minutes piece: variated, too many beat and sound changes, rocker for a while (Akkerman's "The Bridge") and then more soft and pleasant (Thys' "Euridice"). It's pure symphonic madness, full of virtuosity.

So many critics could say that this album is maybe directionless, but I prefer this one as the Focus best effort and not Hamburguer Concerto, because it's is a gem too, but extremely elaborated and for that reason, HC has many parts to fill the LP... Moving Waves have not passages to fill the album; each minute of music is full of feeling and power.

This is the best studio album from the best symphonic prog band.

Report this review (#114217)
Posted Sunday, March 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Amusing and agreeable: these two words are enough to define FOCUS' second studio album, "Moving Waves", a work which throughout the years have become legendary. This album also helped to establish the definitive band's signature: a blend of rock pastiche, pastoral tunes and uplifting prog melodies, concocted in a manner that sometimes it borders pop elements and sometimes it goes near erudite pieces - but unequivocally very well balanced.

The album is relatively short (less than 42') and it may be one of the reasons for its good reception that lasts until today. Band's musicianship was in a high mood, especially the prime movers Thijs van Leer and Jan Akkerman, two fellows that really play in a league of their own.

'Hocus Pocus', the opening track was a radio hit still remembered, a kind of FOCUS standard, where all previously mentioned mixture appears meaningfully. Apart from the voiced segments, the song itself is much more a catchy hard- rock than a real progressive tune, but anyway tasteful.

The bucolic 'Le clochard' shows a different face of FOCUS: sweet, soft, sorrowful. Nice counterweight for the explosive album overture this time with beautiful acoustic guitar and mellotron sounds. The tenderness keeps going through the following track, 'Janis', a paean to the late Miss Joplin, where the flute overwhelms totally the action.

'Moving waves' has a neat classical cradle; the melody is pleasant but the overall atmosphere is slightly spoiled by the vocals. 'Focus II' brings steadily the band's signature and consequently is the most progressive track in the album, probably their best moment here.

'Eruption', the final track, with its 23' length which occupied an entire LP side, at the time LPs were available, is an attempt to produce an epic-like song that unfortunately derailed a bit. The intended torrent of prog tunes is maculated by excessive jamming and a certain bias to show band members skills. Anyway, many parts are dense and strong, somewhere poignant, very audible indeed.

"Moving Waves", the album, won't let the hearer down. There are lots of appreciable moments and memorable parts that indicate this work to be added for a music collection.

Report this review (#123176)
Posted Wednesday, May 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Opens up with the classic track that needs no introduction. When it hit the airwaves it probably lead many people to think of Focus as some crazy potheads, however the rest of the original side is very sedate in nature. Le Clochard is a mellotron-nylon string duo, that highly contrasts the explosive "Hocus Pocus". "Janis" is another soft track dominated by a beautiful melody that is perhaps just a tad bit too repetitive. Moving Waves is pretty much a throwaway track because of Thjis van Leer's weak vocals, but it features a good romantic piece underneath. "Focus II" is the other classic from this album - truly a masterpiece of soft prog with beautiful romantic melodies that were the trademark of Focus. The album closes with a giant of track "Eruption". It has flaws in terms of tension and release (some parts drag on for too long, only to arrive to previous points that were already established well), but nevertheless there are some great melodies present, and fantastic interplay between the musicians. This is one of the best known non-British albums, and for good reasons!
Report this review (#127682)
Posted Friday, July 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The second album

Hocus pocus A big hit for the band. Great riff, heavy guitar sound with hilarious vocals added in (even yodelling) and a nice short flute part. Akkerman is on top of his game for this one, adding several blazing solos. Perfect drumming as well. 5 stars

Le clochard An atmospheric medieval - like instrumental. Big change in tempo as well as mood. Not offending, but obvious filler.Uninspired 1 star

Janis Another ballad, but this time much better. The flute by Van Leer adds a nice flavour to it and carries the whole melody, while other members play restrained. The melody is just average, though. 2.5 stars

Moving waves Again very melancholic. This time dominated by piano and even sung (courtesy of Van Leer). Jazzy, but the flavour does not help this time. Melody is subpar agin, and the atmosphere Really boring. 1 star

Focus II Finall a good track again. A midtempo instrumental. Jazzy again, but the melody is fine and the whole band sounds good. The melody (while not great) is ok and the whole piece is very relaxed. 4 stars

Eruption I A great track in places, nice changes between faster and slover passages, great solos by all members (although I am not that wild about drum solos). Not all that cohesive, but a strong track. 5 stars

Overall: 3 STARS


Report this review (#132306)
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permalink

Focus released a rather decent debut album in 1970. This one is better constructed and avoid those blunders and folkish songs featured on their first album. OK, "Le CLochard" is probably not their best one : very, very quiet piece. When you listen to "Janis", the fantastic flute and so nice keys automatically reminds you of Camel. This link could already be noticed in "In And Out Of Focus". "Focus" will definitely influence the work of Latimer & Co some three to four years later. "Janis" is a jewel of a symphonic number. Little known, but worth to be discovered.

Press "next" while reaching the title track (the only weak song here). You'll hurt "Focus II" which is another very pleasant song : more complex, diversified with sublime and emotional guitar. It really brings me lots of relief while needed. A beautiful instrumental.

Now, B-side. If the word "Eruption" reminds you something but you don't know precisely what; don't look further. It's the first movement of "Tarkus" of course. Several similarities between both numbers I should say : pompous, grandiose, wild, melodic, lenghty, same year of release, imposing, etc. At least this how I feel about it.

This lenghty piece will transport you from the softer and sweetest guitar sounds to the quiet keys breaks; but at the same time, you will have to face some of the wildest guitar and heavy keys. Fantastic theme and mood changes. The second half of the song is probably too long (jazz improv, some noisy guitar moments, drum solo...) but all in all, I consider this "suite" as a great prog epic.

This album is almost fully instrumental (and this is not a bad news). I would strongly recommend it if you would like to discover "Focus". It is a very well balanced album and the band is reaching full maturity in a very short period of time (like most of the legendary bands from the early sevenites).

Four stars.

Oh yes, I forgot to tell you. There is also an opener. "Hocus Foc.. oups Pocus". This is REALLY an exceptional moment of rock music. It features classical, prog and hard-rock all together. The guitar breaks are truely devastating; like a hurricane (at least). These combinations put all together are fantastic. They work so brilliantly. A fabulous number.

When you SEE van Leer performing this song at the time of release, the filiation with Ian Anderson is obvious (not talking about the flute of course, because van Leer is almost born with this instrument). Now, which one influenced the other one ? Who cares actually ? Both are giants.

Report this review (#132466)
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of my all time favorite albums.Van Leer and Akkerman are obviously very talented composers. Le Clochard and Janis are perfect songs. What I mean is that they do not need to be any longer. They satisfy the ear just as they are. There is nothing that anyone redoing those songs could do to make it better. They stand on their own. Focus II, on the other hand is way too short. Every time I listen to it, I wish it would go on for another ten to fifteen minutes. I just love that song! Moving Waves is also perfect, as far as the music goes. It is a fair song with Van leer's vocals. I wished that they would have spent the money and got a female that can sing suprano to do that one. If they did, I believe the song would have been awesome! On side two I love the song "Eruption" It was a very good song. With that said, I still would have liked for them to change some of the parts around. I noticed that Steve Vai's " For the Love of God" sounded a lot like part of the B section of that piece. I didn't like the way they ended the song. I thought that they should have put the part that sounds like you are experiencing paradise at the end. That was in the B section. Imagine that part playing and Akkerman is wailing on the guitar as the song fades out and ends. How cool is that? It seems like they couldn't quite figure out how to end it. Now comes that song that provoked me to buy the album in the first place. "Hocus Pocus" was a really cool tune. Unfortunately it is about four minutes too long. It should have been around two minutes and thirty seconds long. I remember that I used to skip it all the time after I got the album. That is sad. If they shortened that song and lengthened "Focus II" they would have had one of the decades best albums around. I still highly recomend the album anyway. It satifies and the tunes grow on the sceptic.
Report this review (#134532)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Buried within my dad's vinyl collection of Sabbath, Floyd and Zeppelin, there was Focus' Moving Waves. I played this album as much or more than the rest (only the first side usually--the B side was more than I could handle as a 10-year-old). After coming back to prog a few years back, I was thrilled to finally have a CD version of Moving Waves, and I still believe it sounds as fresh, and different, as it did back then. I have the first four albums by Focus, and of those, I believe this to be the second best--creativity may be on par here with Hamburger Concerto, but execution certainly is not.

Hocus Pocus. Naturally, as a kid, this song held my attention. I remember pseudo-yodelling with the neighbor boys, and a prepubescent can do a surprising approximation of van Leer. The whistles, accordian and warp-speed gibberish sections are certainly entertaining, but it all works because this song ROCKS. That guitar riff is good enough to prop up the song for nearly 7 minutes.

Le Clochard. Unfortunately short, the guitar/mellotron duo is just gorgeous. Reminds me of something up Hackett's alley.

Janis. I have always enjoyed this song. There may not me much substance, but the melody is perfectly suited to the flute, and the harmonies are memorable.

Moving Waves. Certainly an odd choice for a title track. It's some sort of imagist song, but so uniquely Focus that somehow it fits.

Focus II. Continuing the Focus series, this holds up the series quality in fine form and is a great piece of songwriting. A beautiful guitar chorus leads to an upbeat, game-show-type section, to a bluesy build for the finale. A very tight performance by all members here.

Eruption. Clearly Focus had some work to do in preparing for their magnum opus, Hamburger Concerto. This piece has some great moments, though transitions and flow are obvious flaws. The churchy intro is enjoyable, though it could be a bit more livelier or build more effectively to what comes next: a classic in-your-face Focus guitar and keyboard jam. This is inspired stuff, but the piece dies down with about 8 minutes left and really loses...well...its focus (oh the irony!). Refrains to close the epic are a good idea, but any suspense and engagement has long been spent.

A solid album that provides a different aspect of Focus from Hamburger Concerto. I would consider both of these albums as essential to any comprehensive prog collection, though Moving Waves is certainly not in masterpiece territory.

Report this review (#137812)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the most dynamic prog rock bands ever,the Dutch quartet FOCUS was formed in 1970 by keyboardist/flutist/vocalist/composer Thijs Van Leer.A few months later their debut ''In and out of focus'' was released,containing both vocal and instrumental tracks with a variety of styles,including psych,hard rock,light symphonic,classic rock and others.After a couple of line-up changes,FOCUS seemed to find their own sound in ''Moving waves'',their sophomore record published in 1972.The opener ''Hocus pocus'' seems like it had escaped from the previous album,a fast energetic and humurous vocal track...but the rest of the album is the absolute symphonic/jazz killer with superb,totally instrumental work.Their sound is half split between the classical-influenced piano/organ and flute passages of Van Leer and the jazzy guitars of mastermind guitarist Jan Akkermann.Great interplays,fantastic alternating tempos and endless changing themes,emotions blended with jamming...I really can't describe how much I admire this FOCUS' work.By my side,''Moving waves'' comes extremely highly recommended!
Report this review (#144595)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I consider MOVING WAVES a near-masterpiece of symphonic prog. Some parts of the album are better than anything else Focus ever tried. Other parts do sound irritating - which prevents MOVING WAVES from being on the same level as the great 1970s classics.

The original A-side of the album opens with one of Focus' best known numbers: 'Hocus Pocus': heavy instrumental rock with virtuoso solos AND virtuoso yodelling. When my friends and I discovered this track in the seventies, we indulged in cheerful head-banging AND had a laugh - there aren't many rock songs that will allow for both experiences at the same time! The A-side continues strongly with 'Le Clochard' (ultra-romantic acoustic guitar delightfully accompanied by mellotron) and with 'Janis', an upbeat flute tune (written by guitarist Jan Akkerman) which, to Focus' credit, sounds totally unlike Jethro Tull. The title track itself sounds boring to my ears, but 'Focus 2' is probably the greatest symphonic-prog instrumental (dominated by electric guitar) to ever come out of Holland: truly beautiful, highly inventive, always carries me away, whenever I hear it!

Such a brilliant A-side raises expectations, which - unfortunately - are not quite fulfilled by 'Eruption', the 23-minute suite on the B-side. To start with, its mournful main theme (played on guitar) sounds irritating the first time you hear it, and it gets repeated so often (in between the suite's better bits) it really gets on your nerves. Fortunately, Eruption's subsidiary theme (faster and organ-dominated) is far more fun, and in the middle of the suite there's a grand symphonic moment where Akkerman performs a stately instrumental ballad (once again accompanied on mellotron) which might have given Carlos Santana the basic idea for his equally solemn 'Europe'. This lovely melody is followed by two brilliant hard-rocking solos, one by Akkerman on guitar and one by Van Leer on Hammond organ. Unfortunately, 'Eruption' soon disintegrates into melodramatic, pseudo-psychedelic sound effects (reminiscent of Nick Mason's equally forgettable 'Sisiphus' on UMMAGUMMA) followed by a 100% superfluous drum solo. To finish the whole thing off, there is yet more repetition of the initial theme.

Well, I guess we ought to be grateful for what we've got, and symphonic proggers will enjoy MOVING WAVES' better moments. Three stars and a half.

Report this review (#147841)
Posted Sunday, October 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars What motive is behind your impulse? The desire to reach upwards

While the majority of fans, as evidenced by polls and discussions in the Prog Archives forum, will (rightly in my opinion) go for "Hamburger Concerto" as the best Focus album, the view on whether "Moving Waves" (sometimes simply called Focus 2) or "Focus three" was their next best, tends to be more divided. For me, "Moving waves" takes the plaudits, being far more focused than its rambling and indulgent successor.

While on the face of it, this is simply a follow up to the band's first album In and out of Focus, the truth is rather more complex. After the release of that album, guitarist Jan Akkerman left the band, forming a new group. Thijs Van Leer retained the Focus name, but when the 2 remaining members of Focus moved on, he joined Akkerman's band, bringing the Focus name with him! The bottom line was that in personnel terms, the core of Van Leer and Akkerman remained intact, with the rhythm section being replaced. The change though was significant as it meant that Akkerman was now the band leader moving the focus (if you will!) from keyboards and flute to guitar.

With "Moving Waves" Focus came close to making a classic album. "Hocus Pocus" is undoubtedly their best known work and the track which introduced many of us to the band when it was released as a single. It is hard to imagine now how original this track was when it was first set loose on an unsuspecting public. The driving guitars, intermittent yodelling and screaming, and sundry sound effects all combine to produce an amazing piece of rock history. The track is not exactly typical of Focus or indeed the album, but every home should have one.

After this, we have four brief tracks to complete the first side of the album. Le clochard (the beggar) is a guitar link piece while Janis is a beautifully reflective flute driven melody. Although Van Leer is centre stage here, this is an Akkerman composition. The title track is a rare vocal track sung by Thijs who adds his own melody to the words of Inayat Khan.

Focus II is a melodic, highly accomplished piece featuring lead guitar with atmospheric organ accompaniment. While there are nuances of jazz and perhaps even classical music in the track, it is firmly rooted in rock. In another ironic twist, while guitar is the dominant instrument here, Van Leer receives the writing credit.

The second side of the album is devoted to the 23 minute Eruption in 5 parts, each of which is further divided into two to four sections. This entirely instrumental suite is far tighter than the following Focus 3 album, with much more in common with the delightful Hamburger concerto. Various themes come and go, some being developed through improvisation. While Akkerman and Van Leer are the principle writers, they bring in the works of Tom Barlage and Eelke Nobel at different points. The section called Tommy for example (which was extracted as a single) has nothing to do with The Who, the name being derived from the name of the composer. Drummer Pierre van der Linden also receives a writing credit for his contribution. In all, the suite works very well, captivating the attention and retaining it throughout. There is no wasted space or stretched out filler in the form of unfocused jazz here (see Focus 3); well apart from the superfluous drum solo!

In summary, "Moving waves" is Focus best album after "Hamburger Concerto". Recommended.

Report this review (#156288)
Posted Saturday, December 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've been listening to this album for almost my entire life, and it has become somewhat of a them for me over the years. This album is a benchmark in progressive rock, considering that the second track Hocus Pocus is one of the most successful and well known progressive rock songs of all time. Other ones to watch out for on the album are the opening track Tommy, which along with the rest of the album shows us why this album earned guitarist Jan Akkerman the Melody Maker best guitarist in the world in 1972. All of the other tracks on side 1 are very good, with the exception of Moving Waves, which returns to the vocal formula of their debut album. The album is saved however, by the side long epic Euption, which is my favourite Focus epic and one of my favourite epics of all time. A very strong album with some stuff tantamount to genius, if you don't own it, you should! 4 stars.
Report this review (#156410)
Posted Sunday, December 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is good only for the presence of Hocus Pocus and Janis. thes two songs are extreme good. Hocus Pocus is an allegro Yodler, very good but strange for a band from Holland. Janis is a POP Jazz ballad, very good and sweet. Good, but too POp, also Moving Waves. The second side is occuped from the little but good suite eruption. Is clear that Moving Waves is a good album in comparison of Focus debut In And Out of focus. But for me is too POP oriented. Hocus Pocus and Janis plus Moving Waves and Janis able to make immortal this album. Van Leer and Akkerman plays very well and in general the production are good, considering that this album is from 1972.

Moving Waves is another Classic album from the 70's, semi universal. And proper for this is another 4 stars album. But don't expect an album totally Prog. Certainly Symphonic, however.

Report this review (#160334)
Posted Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the first album of the classic era of Focus, one of my favourite bands of all time. If you have purchases Hamburger Concerto, or Focus III, and don't own this... buy it!?

Many people will like this album, simply for the hit single Hocus Pocus, and its yodelling. As for me, the true gems of this album are Janis, and the epic track of over 23 minutes, Eruption. All the songs on this album have a slight garage band feel to them, atleast for me. Each track is built upon progressive jamming, which I really enjoy, but many find it boring. I persuade everybody who purchases this album to really LISTEN to it atleast 3 or 4 times over, and truly hear the great musicianship behind each song.

Five big thumbs up!

Report this review (#160511)
Posted Friday, February 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars No doubt, Moving Waves is a classic album of prog rock! Van Leer and Akkerman got together again, re-considered the outcome of their challenging but under-developed debut, changed the rhythm section and recorded a masterpiece!

Hocus Pocus with its wild guitar riff, amazing flute and hysterical Van Leer's yodeling is now a classic of metallic heavy rocking. In contrast, Le Clochard and Janis are gentle acoustic pieces with beautiful melodies and atmosphere reminiscent of the later CAMEL albums. This time vocals are used more sparsely and in a more effective way than on the debut album - now they are reduced to mere instrumental purpose, save for the brief lyrics in the title track, which resembles a nice classical music piece led by piano.

Focus II brings some rather elaborated and inspired jazz-rock improvisations where Akkerman's guitar is simply unbeatable. The side-long suite Eruption continues with more improvisational jams and several more amazing solo parts by Akkerman (there are certain SANTANA-like jams) , although the entire composition (23 min.) seems a bit stretched out and several moments are quite close to a sleepy lounge music.

Nevertheless, Moving Waves is absolutely essential album in the progressive rock catalog!


P.A. RATING: 5/5

Report this review (#162986)
Posted Saturday, March 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. This is such a classic Symphonic record that really should be in every prog fans collection. After the less than successful debut, the band changed the rhythm section bringing in Van Der Linden on drums and Havermans on bass. Both of these guys fit in perfectly with Akkerman and Van Leer, which is the biggest compliment I can give them both. Although I don't think this record is without it's faults, it reaches such lofty heights and pastoral beauty that it really does belong among the seventies greats.

"Hocus Pocus" doesn't really fit in with the rest of the climate of this album, but it's so good that I don't care. This absolutely smolders with Akkerman peeling the paint with his scorching guitar solos. The new drummer asserts himself once and for all on this track, he is incredible.The organ is a nice touch, but it's not his organ play on this song that draws most of the attention to Van Leer, it's his yodelling ! Haha. I have never got tired of this track, and it's placed perfectly as the opening song. "Le Clochard" is all Akkerman who composed it and plays classical guitar throughout. Van Leer adds some beautiful mellotron waves to add to the mood. "Janis" is a song I much prefer over the previous track. It's the incredible, emotional flute playing of Van Leer that is so moving. Yes CAMEL does come to mind. "Moving Waves" features Van Leer on vocals as he sings in a restrained manner as he plays the piano throughout. "Focus II" is another relaxing song that reminds me of CAMEL as Akkerman's guitar soars early. The tempo shifts as mellotron comes in and then more wondrous guitar. A Jazz flavour after 2 minutes as mellotron returns before piano, guitar, bass and drums end it.

"Eruption" is the side long suite at 23 minutes. It opens with mournful guitar melodies as organ can be heard in the background.This theme is repeated later in the song a few times. It becomes more energetic 2 minutes in before the mournful opening guitar and organ returns 3 minutes in. Some nice crisp drumming 4 1/2 minutes in as he continues to solo before a spacey, mellotron drenched section arrives 5 1/2 minutes in. Akkerman sounds outstanding on guitar 7 minutes in as the mellotron waves float along for what seems like minutes (it's not). Aggressive sounds return including some scorching guitar. The organ 12 1/2 minutes in is great. Piano takes over as the sound changes 14 1/2 minutes in with flute joining in. Beautiful section. Vocal melodies 16 1/2 minutes in followed 2 minutes later by another drum solo. They're back to the opening melody again 21 minutes in. Piano, organ and tasteful guitar create an uplifting final section as flute joins in like it did earlier.

This release made FOCUS famous around the world, but more importantly this is a progressive jewel.

Report this review (#164031)
Posted Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've been listening to this quite frequently of late and decided I had to put a plug in for this album on this site.

Moving Waves is an album I have owned for a long time but did not pay a lot of attention to for many years, until recently. It has grown on me significantly over the last few years to the point where I'd have to label it currently as one of my favorite prog albums. I can listen to it regularly in the car or at home and be totally engaged from start to finish each time. The eclectic mix of blistering guitar, classically inspired organ and flute, sophisticated symphonic arrangements, sudden melodic progressions, and virtuoso playing, in particular during the epic Eruption has registered with me as really being top notch. In particular during Eruption, the thematic progressions are really some the most sophisticated and effective that I have heard...on the level of that heard in Gates of Delirium by Yes from Relayer. The overall mood of Eruptionreminds me somewhat of The Snow Goose by Camel. Fans of these works should give Moving Waves a listen if they have not already.

All in all, a most distinctive and effective collection that I'd have to rate as one of the better symphonic prog works I've heard. I need to give some other works by Focus a listen now as well.

Report this review (#164799)
Posted Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Focus - Moving Waves (1972)

Focus is a major Dutch progressive rock band dating from the seventies, but still playing today (they are coming to my hometown next season twice!). The band was the brainchild of keyboardist/flutist/vocalist (in this order) Thijs van Leer. He came from the Dutch cabaret scene and he had written some great tracks for major Dutch artists. I've seen him perform some of these songs and I must say the quality of Focus didn't came out of nowhere! Van Leer also wrote classical music.

Thijs van Leer had this vision about a rock-band that would combine both classical influences and jazz influences. After recruiting Jan Akkerman, who could play both styles the band was completed with an addition of a drummer and a bass-player and the good debut was recorded. After this album Jan Akkerman insisted on the replacement of the rhythmical section, and though van Leer didn't agree on this, he couldn't let main member Akkerman leave the band. A new drummer was found as Pierre van der Linden (Brainbox, Trace) joined the band, who's still one of Holland's most technical drummers! The talented Cyril Havermanns played bass. This line-up changed made Focus a supergroup. With compositional genius and stage man Van Leer, 'best guitarist in the world 1972' Jan Akkerman and Holland's main drummer Van der Linden.

The sound of Focus on the second album is more intelligent than on their debut. There are less vocals and more compositions with an variety of styles, mainly jazz, classical, rock and progressive.

The opening track Hocus Pocus became a hit all over the world and was re-used for the Nike-Football promotion film this year. It regained some deserved attention of the public. The song is however quite strange: It has a jazz-rock main theme with an rock'n roll feel, a lot's of improvisations between them and it has a brigde full of yodelling of Van Leer with a nice Hammond sound. The guitarsolo's are amazing and the fusion of such distinct genres in main theme and bridge make this one of the most awkward hits ever to come out of the progressive movement.

The instrumental Le Clochard begins with a romantic classical guitartheme and has a classical music sound with nice symphonic sounds. Great composition! Janis is also an classical composition with some jazz-influences and great flutes of Van Leer. Very melodic and sincere track.

Moving Waves is the piano masterpiece of Van Leer. On this song he plays his extremely advanced piano style with very interesting harmonies and spacey vocals. This is progressive music without any rock element, but the beauty of the track is amazing.

Focus II is an instrumental jazz-rock track with less classical influences. The band plays emotional and the key-changes are very effective here. Akkerman's guitar is subtle and adventurous, whilst the drums are nice and jazzy. Another great composition.

Eruption is Focus' Swan-song. This 23 minute epic is one of the best of the progressive genre. The classical influences work extremely well here and the heavy guitars of Akkerman are great. This song shows the quality of this super-group. The opening section with it's great organ sounds and crying guitars is very authentic. The harmonic structures Focus' uses are very inventive and sound like nothing I ever heard before or after. The heavy parts are sometimes almost Crimson-like! The Tommy part of the song is one of my favorite Focus moments. It's symphonic jazz-rock sound with it's amazing guitarsolo's and intense spacious vocals of Van Leer are great! There are a lot of different instrumental passages throughout the rest of the song and there's also space for improvisations and some more guitarsolo's of Akkerman. The piano comeback in the middle-section reminds me a bit of the emotional feel of The Snow Goose, but the Focus composition is more sophisticated then Camel's. Some pastoral moments with ellegant vocals of Van Leer complete the epic and the band returns to some of there opening-melodies to close this epic.

Conclusion. One of the best contributions of the progressive genre. A well-recorded progressive record of a super-group that also has a compositional genius. The sound is varied because of the many influences and the multi-instrumentalist approach of Van Leer. The epic Eruption is a perfect example of how symphonic rock should be. Five stars for this one!

Report this review (#169645)
Posted Saturday, May 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a pleasant little album that reminds me of JETHRO TULL and CAMEL; those seem to be the consensus. Probably their best, FOCUS really mixes up the symphonic textures with the folk-inspired prog. For what it's worth, I find their music to be a little more fun (not necessarily better) than the two contemporaries I mentioned above.
Report this review (#170656)
Posted Sunday, May 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.5 stars really.

'Hocus Pocus' is of course one of the most original songs there are in all of prog rock. Who could have imagined there would ever be a song with kick-ass yodeling in it? Definitely one of my favourite songs of all time. The next few shorter tracks making up the rest of side 1 on the old vinyl are all mellow but very nicely done.

'Eruption' is a long a winding tune that has a few great moments mixed in.

I really enjoy the keyboard/organ work throughout this album.

There are no points where I dislike the music. And, there are so many points where it is truly excellent, I cannot resist giving this one the masterpiece label.

Report this review (#175816)
Posted Monday, June 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Moving Waves was a seminal album that I only knew it four years after the release year. I was at Bali Island with friends. In our leisure time we browse around Denpasar to find good quality music in cassette format and I purchased this album along with other bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, ELP. At first spin of the cassette I was automatically hooked to the opening track Hocus Pocus which to me sounded very differently from any typical Focus album or, in fact, other rock bands. The track describes great energy and varied styles which change from one segment to another. The guitar and drums are really the cornerstone of this track. But, it's not only that, because when there is vocal (chanting, actually) without lyrics whereby the singing style is very distinctive that no one had ever done it before. Decades later I knew this track was used also by CNN in of their news program.

Through this second album Focus confirmed their music style and textures having relied more on the instrumental work using guitar, keyboard and dynamic drumming. Of course, the classical music influences are here and there and they are quite intense in influences from classical music. Focus II was intended as icon of the album but unfortunately it's not that solid in composition. The key, in addition to Hocus Pocus, is an epic that consumes 23 minutes of duration: Eruption. This epic at the beginning part showcases excellent work of guitar and drumming throughout musical segments this epic offers. Even though the epic lacks catchy melody, the composition is quite solid.

Overall, it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#184760)
Posted Sunday, October 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Moving Waves is the second studio album by Dutch progressive rock act Focus. I found their debut enjoyable but not outstanding and the same can more or less be said about Moving Waves.

The music is more instrumentally based than the debut. Only two songs feauture singing ( well there´s some choir vocal parts in Eruption too) and that´s Hocus Pocus and Moving Waves and as usual the singing isn´t anything special. The exception is of course the strange yodelling parts in Hocus Pocus which is also one of the standout tracks on the album. The main riff is repeated too many times though and the song seems a bit repetitive IMO. There are some great variations between the main theme though. Le Chochard and the way too romantic Janis is not really my taste and the same can be said about the vocal based title track while Focus II is another highlight here for me. The 23:04 minute long Eruption ends the album. It´s one of the more interesting songs on the album. Especially the opening section where I´m almost reminded of Zappa. You´ll find both guitar, organ and drum solos in this song and about middle way through the song there is a classically inspired flute piece.

The musicianship is excellent. I especially enjoy the guitar soloing from Jan Akkerman but both the rythm section and Thijs van Leer´s keyboards and flute are also well played.

The production is good. Warm and pleasant. Note the drum sound which is outstanding IMO.

This is a good album even though I do get bored one or two times along the way. Focus has many of the elements I enjoy about progressive rock in their music but the most important element for me is still the compositions and how they are structured. I think the compositions are a bit weak here and they don´t really satisfy me much. The playing on the other hand is really great and it does make up for the lack of compositional skill ( they are skilled composers, but IMO they don´t use that skill very effectively). I can´t rate Moving Waves more than 3 stars when I feel that the most important element in music is missing. The generally romantic mood in the music doesn´t really move me either. It´s when Focus act most crazy that I enjoy their music the most.

Report this review (#186648)
Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars 01. Hocus Pocus If this is not a song here I swear that I do not know what it is. Riff perfect, more perfect vocalizations. Instrumental almost never an issue and was recognized as important in the secular music world, this is the theme that I call amazing and superb, from very different tune. If interleave thousands of topics within a theme. Thijs of the vocals are a case in part, simply brilliant. Parts of the guitar Jan Akkerman are also always very well played, the flutes beautiful, low Havermanns of Cyril and battery of Pierre van der Linden always marking a constant theme but without being intediante. An anthem!

02. Le Clocharde Main theme of the Jan. guitar, divine melody, only with the monitoring of a synthesizer emulating strings. Soft, beautiful and emotional.

03. Janis Flutes, several of them. More touching a theme of Dutch. The melodies emulate the soul to interact more and dream a little. In this issue of the low serious Cyril Havermanns has highlighted melodic.

04. Moving Waves Atonal? Melodicamente wrong? That exists? This is Moving Waves on piano and voice of Thijs Van Leer, we have the most sincere, beautiful and sensational already composed. Challenge you to listen without being rough and without paying full attention, and depending on the case to be sad with her.

05. Focus II The 'Focus' are compositions that always accompany the band, including a solo album that I have of Thijs Van Leer where he plays flute (unfortunately only have it in Lp). Focus on this issue is a pleasant surprise of melody that is difficult to explain, but very beautiful. The guitars give a show in the entire track. The second issue is even more beautiful, the melody of the guitar reaches the heart, soul and leads to the presence that would be divine if I came to believe him. Sometimes it's just what we need to cure the ills of the body and soul. Nothing more!

06. Eruption

a) Orfeus, Answer, Orfeus b) Answer, Pupilla, Tommy, Pupilla c) Answer, The bridge d) Euridice, Dayglow, Endless Road e) Answer, Orfeus, Euridice This theme is montruoso and it is difficult to classify exactly who is Orpheus, what is the answer and etc ... What I can say is that this monstrous issue (more than 23 minutes) is sensational and tires in no time. Orchestrated the opening of guitars, organ of the church, the Hammond. Everything here is very well arranged and tied at no time is paraecendo different compositions that are embedded, but a single piece solid and without holes, a complete 'Wall'. Some Vocalizations for further increasing the tone of talking to the sound. Sensational subject of guitar again. Nice to meet you Jan Akkerman. Part of madness, doidera staff in general, faster, more crazy, some guitar riffs and low together, after the keyboard and guitar. Why did so between the guitar break on top of a base sensational, the Hammond organ in Thijs is always an extra in the sound of the guys. After the soil around the theme. Ai is the time to get heavy keyboard and guitar make the most basic legal I ever saw. Introsadíssima band. And we are only half the issue. Fine interventions and also of low battery. The guitar around the theme of Hocus Pocus momentarily. Then a beautiful part of piano and guitar takes care of the environment. Vocalizations typical monasteries that weather guy, that climate. Tá without climate for thinking? Without crisis! Focus of the guys invited to a tea of mint. (laughter) Battery !!!!!!!!! The theme quiet and beautiful back on top at the end of the song. This is epic, this is perfect! This is Focus.

What we have here? A classic. The Focus is not so well known, people know but do not hear. Here is the chance to hear a classic.

Report this review (#196881)
Posted Friday, January 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Moving Waves is such a fine example of early 1970's progressive rock. I believe it is Focus' masterpiece and a fantastic album. Hocus Pocus is iconic. Akkerman's solos in the song are some of the best of the early 70's. Le clochard is a beautiful classical guitar piece with soft Mellotron accompanying by the great Thijs van Leer.

Focus II is one of my favorite Focus songs to play along to on guitar besides just listening. The complexity and beauty is unreal. The song, Eruption, is an epic of a composition. Every time I listen to it, I am always waiting for a part in the middle after the first drum solo with majestic Mellotron and a passionate solo by Akkerman.

This album deserves more credit because of the boundaries it pushed at the time. One thing most forget is how much jazz influence there is in Focus' music. In some ways, Focus could have been considered a jazz fusion group.

Give Moving Waves the listen it deserves and it will soon provide you with endless musical bliss.

Report this review (#199239)
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Making Waves...

FOCUS and this album is sadly mostly known for the opening track of this album. Yes, this is the album where they launched the Hocus Pocus track and legend. Yodeling is not an everyday occurence in the music business, although the scene was pretty big in Germany in the 1960s. FOCUS did not invent the wheel with that song.

Hocus Pocus is both a blessing and a curse for FOCUS. Because when the last tones of this brash track, the opening track fades out, what is left of this album is a superb progressive album. I am not convinced that Hocus Pocus is a blessing for this album. It may have been a better album without it. The rather short following two tracks Le clochard and Janis is superb understated symphonic progressive rock with a lot of folkish and JETHRO TULL feelings. They are also a huge contrast to the opening track. The title track Moving waves is also a folkish track with one leg in classical music. The same also goes for one of FOCUS best songs; Focus II. Both of these two themes was to be explored more on The Hamburger Concertos some years later. The twenty-three minutes long Eruption completes this excellent album. This track has taken a lot of influences from jazz, classical music (in particular; baroque music) and prog. It is a blend of everything great. Again; this track points towards what were to come on The Hamburger Concertos. It is a monumental track and symphonic prog at it's most fluent.

This is one of the best FOCUS albums out there. It is also one of the better symphonic prog albums out there. It combines baroque music with folk prog (JETHRO TULL) and jazz. It takes symphonic prog to another level. But it is being overshadowed by this Hocus Pocus track and the cult that later grew out of it. If that track is removed, the end result is a mellow, monumental symphonic prog album. Prog rock does not get much better than this.

4.5 stars

Report this review (#215106)
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The second album by the leaders of the Dutch prog scene in the seventies. Just like its predecessor, the artwork is horrible. However, the music is not. It starts with Hocus Pocus, a nice blend between great musicality and humour. This was their biggest hit, especially in America, where the song was released with double speed. The song jumps from the infamous yodelling to amazing guitar solos and drum intervals. However, after listening to the song a couple of times you kinda get the idea.

The next tracks go into a totally different direction, with romantic guitars on Le Clochard, classical flutes on Janis and the first vocals on Moving Waves. Focus II stands out again with great guitar playing and beautiful melodies.

The last song, Eruption, is my favourite of the band. Divided into multiple sections, the song swings from soft to agressive moods and from jazzy parts with great guitar soloing to vocal melodies.

For me, this is the best album by Focus, just a tiny bit better than Hamburger Concerto. Masterpiece!

Report this review (#215159)
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hamburgers are tastier

Moving Waves is a good album. Not a great album, not a lame album, but a good album. It opens with the song Hocus Pocus, a heavy riff-based song that showcases the skills of Van Leer, Akkerman and Van der Linden perfectly, with flute, guitar and drum solos coming everywhere. The song's chorus (can I call it that?) features a yodelling part which then evolves into an opera. Focus does not tend to use their voice in songs, so this is one of those songs where the amazing voice of This van Leer is used.

Now comes what I call, the Moving Waves trilogy. The three songs Le Clochard, Janis, and Moving Waves. I don't like those songs, and I will not recommend them to any Focus fan, but maybe I don't like them because they're mostly piano-based, or because they don't show- case, or just because they are not prog to me. I'm not saying that they're bad, I'm just saying that they're not necessarily good.

Focus II, the last song of side one, starts with a piano, then moves to Focus-like drum-guitar- bass-flute part, similar to Birth on Hamburger Concerto. A very fun song, as it is catchy and groovy.

Now comes Eruption, a 20 minute masterpiece! The song is split into only 5 parts, but sounds like so much more. The song sounds like guitar riffs come out of every corner, then comes a flute solo, then there's a piano part, then back to an extreme guitar solo, it's like the action never stops! Eruption is one of my favorite Focus songs, which also makes me give this album a 4.

Thanks, Thijs!

Report this review (#229875)
Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was the first FOCUS album I heard. Sadly I haven't heard many others, actually only the The Best Of compilation (which really isn't true to its name!) and Focus 3, which is often regarded as their best work. I'd say Moving Waves is better; it's enjoyable all the way through whereas Focus 3 has some irritating moments in its hour+ length.

This second album kicks off with their best-known rocker, 'Hocus Pocus', with the fiery guitar riff and Thijs van Leer's yodling and the sequence of bizarre nonsense singing. All crazy but it makes one happy somehow. Luckily the rest of the album is not as rocking but concentrates on the calmer and more beautiful side of this band. Jan Akkerman shines on acoustic guitar and Thijs on flute. The title track is an ethereal piano ballad, very artistic and could easily be put in the art music genre.

Original second side of the vinyl is one long instrumental epic (some wordless background humming is included). Subtitles reveal some sort of narrative about Orfeus and Euridice. One could see how there are certain motifs for each character that are repeated over the 23 minutes' length, but without knowing the myth the narrative level remains distant to the listener, I'm afraid. That naturally doesn't make it any harder to enjoy the music as pure music.

I'm giving this full rating because it's very rare for me to enjoy an album sincerely from the first second to the last.

Report this review (#230192)
Posted Thursday, August 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'll avoid doing any ''focusing'' jokes here seeing that many other reviewers have already done so.

My opinion on this album really echoes a majority opinion here, so I won't go into too much detail. The album in it's entirety is for those who like to listen to music for relaxation purposes, not to mention the ones that can stomach classical music. The title track is the only sung song on the album as the other pieces don't have or contain wordless vocals. At best, the instrumental interplay is tight, but at worst it just bores.

''Hocus Pocus'' is such an obvious miscast from everything else here; it is a high-octane foot stomping rock tune that has seen the light of day on many a classic rock station. It jaunts, taunts and flaunts as it soars with ecstatic drum solos, Jethro Tull-esque flute moments, yodelling, gibberish and the gawking guitar bits.

There's an epic here, but it's mostly boring to me. Too many soft mellotrons, uninteresting drum solos, stagnant tempos and subpar ELP-like outbursts. The bluesy jam in the middle is nothing short of spectacular with one of the best guitar solos I've ever heard, although the backing instruments help propel the song further.

I only pull this out for ''Hocus Pocus'' and the bluesy jam, that is unless I'm driving my car. The symph lover with an immense taste for classical music will want this, but those who want rock in their prog will only care for the two tracks that I mentioned.

Report this review (#248590)
Posted Saturday, November 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Back in the seventies I used to listen to side 2 of this LP over and over again. Side 1, not so much.

The CD that I own of this was released by I.R.S. at the same time as In And Out Of Focus and Focus III, yet it does not have the awful muffled sound that the other two disks have. I supposed they took a bit more care with this release, as it contained the band's only U.S. hit.

As a teenager I loved Hocus Pocus, mostly for it's high energy guitar and drums, and secondly for the weird yodeling sections. Now, I like it, but the novelty has worn off. I liten to it occasionally, but not often. The remainder of the songs on what was side 1 of the LP are mostly forgettable, ranging from soft ballads to light fusion.

Eruption is, to me, the album's reason for being. At just over twenty-three minutes, this suite is one of the band's best reasons for inclusion on this site. It has classical references, jamming sections, soft baroque sections. And unlike many suite epics, they flow effortlessly from one section to another. Just don't expect blazing virtuosity. The performances are adequate for the piece, but nothing completely amazing.

Report this review (#250974)
Posted Monday, November 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Moving Waves is a very nice album, but somewhat inconsistent. The lead track, the full version of Hocus Pocus, is an incredibly cool instrumental freakout- besides, you can't go wrong with yodeling. Le Clochard is a kinda good atmospheric piece, nothing special here. Janis, however, is atmospheric, but there's more here, mainly the relaxing and pastoral flute- very nice song, could have been longer though. Moving Waves is a piano-led short song, not impressive at all really. And, to conclude Side I, Focus II is an average-quality instrumental piece.

Then is Eruption, the 23-minute instrumental monster. There's some very nice stuff in this song, but it really doesn't interest me much. I guess this is because there isn't a feeling of connection to the song, it just seems like 23 minutes of well-played but somewhat random pieces of various instrumentation. So, Moving Waves is a good album, but not really great- three stars seems in order.

Report this review (#272632)
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#284224)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
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

Report this review (#286176)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Focus was pretty much a new band with the release of Moving Waves. Not only had the band completely restructured their rhythmic section but with it came a shift in direction. Thijs van Leer's vocals were used much sparsely, but the moments when he did bursts into song it sounded nothing like the voice that he depicted on the band's debut release. Lastly, Moving Waves is also the album where Jan Akkerman made his first prominent appearance as the guitarist that we know him as.

Hocus Pocus kicks off the album on an unusually rock style that was nowhere to be found on In And Out Of Focus and is a welcoming addition to the band's softer symphonic rock sound. It doesn't take Focus long to return to the more familiar ground and Le Cochard almost makes me forget any preconceived notion of the band's going into a Heavy Prog direction. First side of the album continues a very mellow phase with songs like Janis and the album's title track. Focus II is really not an exception to this rule but at least this one has a few sparks along the way. The guitar playing by Jan Akkerman reminds me actually a lot of Andrew Latimer's style, or maybe it was the other way around!

Side two consists entirely out of the 23 minute suite titled Eruption and is a loose conceptual piece depicting the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. I've honestly never payed much attention to the track's theme and just enjoyed the music as it is. Just like the few other lengthy tracks that Focus would produce in the early '70s, the material does feel a bit thin in comparison to its hefty time margin. At least this composition doesn't rely heavily on an instrumental jams between the band members, which is something that will become more prominent on the next release.

Overall, I'd say that this is another great album by Focus. It might be considered a step in the right direction after the much more commercially oriented In And Out Of Focus, but I'm not entirely convinced by that. This is nonetheless an excellent album that should be in every serious prog rock music collection.

***** star songs: Hocus Pocus (6:43) Focus II (4:04)

**** star songs: Le Clochard (2:01) Janis (3:08) Moving Waves (2:43) Eruption (23:02)

Report this review (#308572)
Posted Saturday, November 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A classic album, a good one, but that's it!

Now that I read a review about this album I felt it was time for me to review it, since I've been meaning to do it for some time. The fact is, that despite I like the album I've never found it awesome or unique, so my feelings toward it are not actually that positive, or at least as positive as I would like. When I listen to albums like Hamburger Concerto or Focus III I always have that predominant smile, but here, I simply can't find that boost that leads me to feel completely comfortable.

A similar case happens to me with Rush' Moving Pictures, which is an album I know its good and I enjoy in moments, but in the end I can skip it, it is not essential to my collection actually. "Moving Waves" released in 1972 has to be one of Holland's most important albums ever, and probably the most successful when progressive rock is about. So it is (in my opinion) mandatory to listen to it and own it, because you can judge by yourself and understand why that success, and then, make your own opinion.

In my opinion, I believe the fact that this album features "Hocus Pocus" helped a lot with its commercial (and non commercial) success, that song is an icon within the prog realm, I am sure almost everyone has listened to it, if not, you should (which does not mean you will like it). So this 41-minute album opens with that song, a heavy-symphonic track where electric guitars and flute conduct the music, making a good sound that in moments could be repetitive, and you can get sick about it after three minutes. The main reason of that "sickness" are the horrendous vocals, you can laugh and sing, but as an artistic thing, I think they failed with them, it would've been better without vocals.

Then, there are four short tracks in a row: "Le Clochard", "Janis", "Moving Waves" and "Focus II". The first one out of this bunch has a delicate acoustic guitar sound with keyboards as background, a nice piece, maybe too short, but nice. The second opens with flute and drums appear seconds later, the music here has nothing to do with the opener song, here the sound is soft and comfortable, what I would call a Focus sound. This is probably my favorite track on this album. Then the title track, with gentle piano and later some not so bad vocals, but again, I would have preferred an instrumental track. And the last one is another charming track, with that clean and calm symphonic sound provoked by guitars and keyboards. Nice song without a doubt.

Now, the longest, more challenging composition was placed as the final track."Eruption" is its name. I won't write a lot about it, to be honest their musical skills and composition abilities can be noticed here, we are facing a great band with trained and talented people, there is no doubt about it. However, there are moments here where I felt uncomfortable, I think to myself that in their will of experimenting and be original, they reached a point where they could not offer more, where the music sounds plain and don't has that continuity, I mean, in this song it is easy to me to lose the track, in moments I am listening but at the same time I am not here.

However, there are great moments on the song, It is not only about bad criticism, I have to say that there are a couple of nice movements here where I feel interested and keep my complete attention, the guitar work in general is pretty good, accurate. But well, as a whole, despite I consider it was a wonderful effort, I never fell in love with this song, nor with the album. So forgive me if you think this is a masterpiece, it simple does not do anything to me. My final grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#308607)
Posted Saturday, November 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Focus for years was Dutch face of prog, and I believe Moving Waves is their most representative work. So, if you are newbie and just want to imagine, what Dutch classic prog means, listen to that album.

Very professionally made, this album (as almost any other Focus album as well) never was my favourite. I really enjoy some excellent moments in this music, but in all this album for me is very characteristic example what European Continental prog is (I don't speak there about such specific forms as Krautrock or Zeuhl).

Having some similarities with British early prog, Continental one usually didn't have bluesy or jazzy roots. And instead huge component added was European classical music and domestic folk. Focus is bright example - music on this album is well played, almost calculated,mix of classical tunes and arrangements, Dutch folk, some Broadway musicals' tricks and after that all - some doze of rock instrumentation, obviously influenced by British sound of that time.

Result is ... a bit uncomfortable for me. Almost all songs has great melodies, musicianship is on the good level as well, but all album sounds as high quality local dance/music hall band adapted their music for more modern auditory, trying to attract rebelling teens, children of respectable burgers. In fact, musicians even didn't tried too hard and under the thin skin music stayed the same as decades before.

There are plenty of similar sounded bands of that time from all region, mostly Germany, Benelux,Denmark,Austria,France. "Not-rock-countries" in short. Focus is possibly leading band of that sub-genre, and this album is one of the best between similar ones.

Still really good work, but will never steal your heart or soul I think.

Report this review (#308990)
Posted Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars FOCUS' first album, "IN and Out of Focus", proved to be somewhat of an anomaly, for better and for worse. On "Moving Waves", they developed their signature sound that would endure to varying degrees through the next half decade or so. They incorporated a few of the song oriented styles of their debut, but also began their investment in often tediously and artificially lengthy opuses,

The major triumph is of course "Hocus Pocus", an inimitable song that unfortunately defined the group even while it barred the path for further exploration in its singular domain. But Side 1 of the original LP contains some of the group's most symphonic tracks and seems furthest away from the fun-loving but irritating funk and fusion of subsequent efforts. For instance, the group seemed to be blazing a new symphonic trail on "Le Clochard", strummed acoustic guitars washed in mellotrons and a sumptuous melody all economically espoused in under 2 minutes. "Janis" and "Focus II" tout the virtues of simple yet decidedly progressive themes.

It is unfortunate, then, that Side 2 takes less captivating melodies and abrupt clashes of styles and expands them out to 23 minutes, as if nothing had been learned in the first half. Progressive fans may well drool at the prospect of "Eruption", and it is true that this obligatory side long epic formed the focus for future explorations, but it also marked a choice that has relegated the group to also ran status, and best known simply because, like so few others, they hailed from Holland. Sure, Akkerman had the chops and Van Leer was the demure one, yodels notwithstanding, and all couples need to play off each other, but, in yogic terms, "Eruption" had too much pitta and not enough vata. This was the group's Achilles heel.

Probably the best FOCUS original album, amongst decidedly middling company, "Moving Waves" could have stood atop the crest of prog were it not weighted down by poor moves and/or insufficient inspiration.

Report this review (#312642)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review #11 Focus' 1971 Album Moving Waves

When I heard "Hocus Pocus" for the first time on AM radio I thought "What the hell is this?" A guitar riff unlike any other, yodeling, flute, and above all very catchy.

"Hocus Pocus" was a minor hit here in Australia in 1973, some 2 years after Moving Waves was released. I bought the album not knowing what to expect. I got more than I expected.

A real masterpiece of prog.

"Hocus Pocus" is the opening number then it is followed by "Le Clochard" different can these 2 compositions be? "Le Clochard" such a beautiful instrumental acoustic composition. Then "Janis" oh the memories...Thijs Van Leer's flute is so soothing a very nice, melodic subdued piece. The title track is a little weird and the only song on the album i.e. real vocals. Basically Van Leer recites a poem by Inayat Khan over his piano.

Then Focus II, a great instrumental and then what makes Moving Waves a masterpiece is the final epic 23.03 minute "Eruption". I had never heard anything like this before. All 4 muscians contribute to make this one of the most defining moments in recorded history. I urge those who have not heard "Eruption" to seek it out. Jan Akkerman comes to the attention of the world through this opus and album. Listen to the segment entitled "Tommy" within "Eruption"; then be astonished.

Oh I love Moving Waves.

Report this review (#393864)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of the seminal albums in my induction into the world of progressive rock music, I can never forget the first time hearing with awe the artistry and skills put on display by the radio friendly "Hocus Pocus." Amazing speed from all players, amazing guitar leads, amazing drum play, amazing flute play, and simply shocking display of yodelling. (Yodelling?! Yes! Yodelling!) Guts and innovation. The album that I bought out of this radio experience, was slightly disappointing except for the stunning beauty of the "Tommy" section of "Eruption." I think I was just a bit too new to complex and eclectic music making to appreciate the shorts on Side One. And then, while I wore out the grooves of my Side Two ("Eruption") twice (I still own three copies of "Moving Waves"), the song has not kept it's lustre for me over the years (though a recent listen surprised me with just how familiar and how adrenaline-pumping the song was to me). However, with age all of the songs from Side One have won me over to the point that I truly believe that these musicians were truly geniuses--virtuosi, too!--creating music that blended classical, folk, jazz traditions more cleverly, more deftly and certainly more skillfully than 99% of the bands out there. I mean this was 1971!

Everytime I hear the gorgeous "Le Clochard" (2:01) (10/10) I mistakenly think I'm listening to a Steve Hackett piece. "Janis" (3:08) (9/10) is equally gorgeous just not as technically impressive (though there are amazing flourishes there). "Moving Waves" (2:43) (8/10) is impressive for its English and classical feel--though I always felt singing with lyrics was an incongruous manouevre for this band. "Focus II" (4:04) is one of those classic beauties with its jazzy, YES-like in and out of focus tempos. It's only flaw for me was that it exposed (for me) a little of the weakness of the drummer (Who I've never been able to embrace with the praise and admiration that so many others do). (10/10) The side-long (over 23-minutes!) "Eruption" is one of the daring masterpieces of the classic era of progressive rock music. It has the ELP feel and classical structures to it but it has the added bonus of the presence and contribution of the great Jan Akkerman--perhaps the greatest guitarist of his generation.

A few years ago I rated this with only four stars but, no more, this is one of the unsung and seminal masterpieces of the progressive rock movement of the early 1970s.

Report this review (#459474)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Kicking off with possibly the only proto-metal track from the 1970s to feature yodelling in Hocus Pocus, Moving Waves starts out confidently but doesn't have many tracks to compare with the opening barrage. The sidelong epic Eruption is a fair stab at a 20-minute symphonic composition which rather misses the mark, though it does at least include a brief tip of the hat to fellow Dutch proggers Solution by covering a scrap from their self-titled debut. The rest of the songs are by and large unmemorable. On balance, I think I'd have been better off picking up the opening track on iTunes and leaving the rest, because only Hocus Pocus is really essential listening here. A three star album consisting of a five-star song backed up with two- to-three star material.
Report this review (#487266)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Their best album

"Hocus Pocus" (3.25 Out of 5.00) This Hard rock- oriented song is really funny, unimitable and extremely powerful. Anyone can suffer a pleasant catharsis attack with this.

"Le Clochard" (3.00 Out of 5.00) It`s a delicate song where guitarrist Jan Akkerman show his skills playing what could be considered classical-inspired. Mellotron can be heard on the background.

"Janis" (3.00 Out of 5.00) This song painted a beautiful passage on my mind.

"Moving Waves" (0.75 Out of 5.00) Some kind of poem with a piano work on the background, totally uninspired and out of place.

"Focus II" (4.00 Out of 5.00) My favorite song of the album and the best focus`song I've heard, very passionate and poignant.

"Eruption:" (3.75 Out of 5.00) I really enjoy most of this suite; "Orfeus", "Answer", "Pupilla" and "Tommy" are my favorite while "The bridge" (The longest) are my least. "Euridice" is beautiful and "Dayglow" just makes me realize that this ist worth. Then "Orfeus" and "Euridice" are reprised again to put an end to this worth album.

So I will give just 3 stars (3.25 really)

Report this review (#808716)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Focus' "Moving Waves" is an undeniable classic for 2 reasons. The first is the obvious as it boasts arguably the finest and most popular composition, the almighty Hocus Pocus. The second reason is it boasts one very epic symphonic suite on side 2 the beauty and majesty of Eruption. The other songs kind of blend into the background but everything is played to virtuoso perfection with the likes of the incomparable flute and keys of Thijs van Leer on organ, Harmonium, Mellotron, soprano and alto flute, piano, and my favourite guitarist for Focus, legendary Jan Akkerman, joined by Cyril Havermanns on bass, and the powerhouse percussion of their best drummer Pierre van der Linden. It is great to hear these legends in full flight and of course it is always wonderful music.

Hocus Pocus is quintessential of course and made the group mega stars, and continues to appear on compilations galore. The riff is quirky, the flute is dynamic and the vocals are? well put it this way, it is off the planet when Thijs begins his prog yodelling spree. Hilarious, endearing and unforgettable, and definitely worth seeing in a live performance, as manic as Ian Anderson, these flute players are all delightfully insane. After this glorious start the album spirals into a few less memorable tracks such as Le Clochard, Janis, and Moving Waves, capped off by very nice musicianship on Focus II. My cassette just ran out so it is time to turn over to side 2; don't you just love the old cassette tapes?

The flip side is Eruption, a 23 minute exploration of light and dark shades with flute, Hammond, drums and bass going at it like knives, and it ends with a beautiful relaxing texture of flute and ambience. It is a great album, though "Hamburger Concerto" appeals more to me personally. There is no denying that Focus were capable of some incredible sounds back in the golden 70s era of prog.

Report this review (#899732)
Posted Saturday, January 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Moving Waves is the second Focus album and is one of the two essential efforts from the band, with the other being the great Hamburger Concerto. Moving Waves solidifies Focus as a true prog rock band, as if the presence of flute, mellotron, some crazy musicianship, and a 23-minute epic weren't obvious evidence.

The album opens with the band's most (if only) commercially successful song, and perhaps sort of an anthem for the band. Hocus Pocus shows off the quirky nature of the band. It is fast-paced, loud, and just plain rocking. This song also showcases the ridiculous talent of Thjis Van Leer in which he pretty much plays every instrument, including the yodeling.

Le Clochard is a short, yet beautiful song with tons of mellotron under some acoustic guitar work. Perhaps my only problem with this tune is that is isn't longer!

The same could be said for the next song, "Janis," which is absolutely stunning with great melodies played on flute.

Unfortunately, Moving Waves is the only true weak link of the album. The instrumentation is nice, but the vocals are very weak and add nothing to the song, which may be why much of the band's work is indeed instrumental.

Focus II is a lively, yet soulful tune with some amazing guitar work. The jazz influence is undeniable on this one as well, which is always welcome.

But the staple of the album is the song that takes up half of it, in Eruption. The piece is the first attempt at an epic, and while I would say the later Hamburger Concerto is a more polished attempt, this one definitely has its moments. The melodies are fun and catchy, and the structure is pretty diverse, containing tons of heavy riffs, softer, yet energetic organ parts, and an overall beautiful atmosphere laced with mellotron. My only problem with the song is that it is sometimes prone to excessive noodling, but other than that, Eruption is a great addition to the longer songs of prog.

Overall, Moving Waves is an undeniably strong album from beginning to end with only a few minor hiccups along the way. A solid addition to symphonic prog collection.


Report this review (#939498)
Posted Thursday, April 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Moving waves, Focus second offer from 1972 is a classic of prog movement from early '70 not only from Holland but in prog generaly speaking. The album is known mainly for Hocus Pocus, one of the well known pieces in history, but the weight of Moving waves is done by Eruption a lenghty 20+ min prog jewel. They had an unique sound and musical approach incorporated rock passages with complicated prog twists, heads of the band the keyboardist and flutist Thjis van Leer and excellent guitarist Jan Akkerman manage to brings some great ideas and in short time Focus was one of the best known prog act from Holland and in Europe in general, in first part of the '70. The flute, the hammond , the guitars , the drums are calculated well performed, with many bright arrangements, quirky and dynamic long instrumental passages, complicated and damn catchy specially in Eruption without doubt one of the best if not the best Focus pieces ever.. To me a 4 star album, while is more then ok to my ears, I was never a big fan of the band but for sure I do appreciate their talent and overall influence in prog world. I think their best work together with Hamburger concerto.

Report this review (#1025506)
Posted Friday, August 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Originally released as FOCUS II and re-released under the title MOVING WAVES, this was FOCUS' greatest moment in their entire career. The world went absolutely wild over the lead single 'Hocus Pocus' which even hit the top 10 on the Billboard singles chart. An oddity it was in every way especially in the prog world. This song was a riff-driven proto-metal track that actually predicted the use of 80s metal techniques like using the Hungarian minor scale. The mix of this early hard rock with yodeling sessions is still an eclectic oddity even today. Unfortunately this song is an anomaly in the FOCUS canon as well since the rest of the album sounds absolutely nothing like it.

The next three tracks are average classically inspired tracks that really don't offer much and feel a little hokey since they insinuate grander things to come and kind of fizzle out. The title track is the worst on here with horrible vocals and it kind of reminds me of ELP. I wish they would have skipped this one and added another rocker to usher in the grand finale 'Eruption.'

'Eruption' seems to be equally loved and disliked. I'm on the love-it side. This 23 minute long piece is a hard rock version of the tale of 'Orpheus' and Jacopo Peri's opera 'Euridice'. There are many meanderings and variations of a basic melody that repeat subtly throughout the entire piece. I can understand why some may think this is boring as it is repetitive at times. For me I find the subtle spiraling of variations to be interesting and really love the odd breaks and also the more rocking parts. The transitions are unpredictable and I find the melody very infectious which sustains my interest.

Because this album is so strange with two really strong tracks that take up most of the album time and the fact that the rest of the instrumentals are average with only one track that I truly dislike I think this just squeaks by for me as a 4 star album.

Report this review (#1116162)
Posted Saturday, January 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is a beautiful masterpiece. After their decent debut album, Focus were up for something really special. Although the cover of this album I find quite repelling, music that sits inside is out of this world. I really like the way that Jan Akkerman's singing guitar goes with Thijs Van Leer's lush, skilled organ playing. This is showcased perfectly on "Eruption", which is probably a highlight of the album - a 23-minute multimovement suite, an essential prog track. This album is very varied. At times presenting a pastoral, church-like moods, sometimes blessing the listener with a heavy rock-out like on "Hocus Pocus". Overall, this album is a work of art and should definitely find itself in a collection of every self-respecting prog nut!
Report this review (#1533592)
Posted Sunday, February 28, 2016 | Review Permalink

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