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Focus - Focus 9 / New Skin CD (album) cover

FOCUS 9 / NEW SKIN

Focus

 

Symphonic Prog

3.22 | 100 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
2 stars I really liked "Focus 8" released some four years before this one. Should van Leer change directions, stick to this style or transport us again in another crazy musical trip ?

When I listen to the first notes of the opening number : "Black Beauty", I was really expecting the worse. "Focus" playing reggae ! Fortunately, it won't last for long and the remaining part of the song will be "Sylvia" oriented. BTW, the old associate Van der Linden (a former drummer featured on their albums from "Moving Waves" to "Live At The Rainbow") is back.

As usual, one of the "Focus" theme is one of the best song of the album. This one fully follows the tradition so far. Very catchy melody and emotional guitar work. Like in the good old days. "Sylvia's Stepson" is very similar.

"Hunkey Turkey 2" mixes some classic music (a re-work of a Mozart piece), some yodeling and good fluting. Not too bad a combination. The first weak track so far is the jazzy "Neils' Skin". It's only bearable during the great (but short) guitar solo.

The jazzy mood is still there while "Focus" starts with "Just Like Eddy". One of the very few song with vocals (if you exclude the yodeling notes on "Eddy"). The guitar work is fully Santana oriented, this was the case already during several tracks from "Focus 8". For sure, I won't complain about this. Still the melody of the song is not really great (as the vocals).

I can't really be thrilled with "Aya-Yuppie-Hippie-Yee" nor "Focus 9" : the latter being the weakest "Focus" theme ever. Lobby bar- like. For eight long minutes. A piece of tranquility, but tasteless. As "Ode To Venus" and "European Rap(sody)" which is the longest track of this album (clocking at over ten minutes). Grotesque at times (the "Ho Ho Ho Ho" sequence definitely does not belong to the best of "Focus"). It also features some "vocals"...

"Focus 9" will probably please the "Focus" fans who liked their jazzier side. It is not really my taste. The closing number is one of the most pleasant song of the album, but nothing from the other world either.

This album is quite repetitive (same applied to "Focus 8") but the songs in these one were much more inspired and the guitar work from Jan (Dumée) was just great. It is far from being essential to your "Focus" discography. Maybe the album too much. Two stars.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |

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