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Focus - 3 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 508 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Some bands already showed the illness of producing too long efforts in the glory days of prog (the seventies). This is prolonged till today of course with bands like TFK, Cast etc. I don't have anything in particular against long albums when they are good throughout their lenght but when, like "Focus III" it is filled with long and uninteresting instrumentals (almost improvisations) I can't really applaude.

This album starts with a really poor track : "Round Goes the Gossip" might sound funny but this repetitive and uninspired jazz- rock number is unpleasant. But this mistake will be erased with the next "Love Remembered" which is a brilliant and fully symphonic song. Their hit "Sylvia" follows. Although commercially successful, I far much prefer "House Of The King" (I discovered "Focus" with this number in 1971).

The band will deliver another jazz-oriented song with "Carnival Fugue". Extremely quiet during its early stages, it turns into a jazz jam and ends up with good fluting. More in-line with their traditional style. I have to say that so far, this album does not really kick me.

Like "Focus" have done on prior releases, a "Focus" titled song is featured. This time "Focus III" of course. Well, like the other ones it is a great number. Fully symphonic and gentle. Keyboards are so nice and the guitar so emotional. This is "Focus" at their best. Fianally, the album picks up with this subtle song. My fave on this album.

Although a bit lenghty, I quite like "Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!". Sounds as an early Crimson song. Very gentle flute and a soft backing band for almost eight minutes. Jazzy mood again, but really smooth and pleasant. The song then accelerates and delivers a great guitar solo. This is another highlight.

I can not be as positive with the medieval madrigal "Elspeth". Absolutely pastoral and useless.

Now, "Anonymous Two" (the band seems to lack in creativity while choosing their titles. "Anonymous" was already one of their song on their first album). While I reviewed their first album, I mentioned that Thijs really sounded like Ian while playing flute (but BEFORE Ian played these great and wild flute breaks). When you listen to the intro of this... piece of music; the same feeling prevails.

After this, the band enters into a long jam session of over twenty minutes. Some pleasant moments but not too many, I'm afraid. Sounds as "Focus" is willing to impress its audience and show their high technicity. It's OK for a while, but not over twenty-five minutes. Some will probably feel different (KC fans who like their improv style while playing on stage).

The bass solo is rather irritating and useless to my ears. It is followed with a rich and powerful guitar break. Actually, each musician has its moment (like in the extended version of "Get Ready" from "Rare Earth" but in a different style).

This album is not for everyone. While I really liked "Moving Waves" (which I have rated with four stars) I can't enter into this one. You can be bored to death for half of it, while some other moments are very pleasant. This album is not consistant and should have been cut down to forty minutes or so to be able to generate some kind of thrill to me.

As such, I would say that it is for die-hard "Focus" fans and I am not even sure that they would spin this one very often from start to fininsh.

Two stars.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |


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