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Focus - Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In and Out of Focus] CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.49 | 329 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars I quite like this album (and this is coming from someone who generally doesn't like much Focus), and that is strange because this debut is closer to simpler Pink Floyd and not really progressive rock at all. If anything, this is mild yet enjoyable proto-prog.

"Focus (vocal)" Using a steady, easygoing rhythm with a light beat and distant organ, this opening song has sweet vocals and an even sweeter sounding guitar.

"Black Beauty" After an exciting building introduction of drum fills, guitar screams and bass runs, a pleasant acoustic guitar-based straightforward rock song ensues.

"Sugar Island" This song is based around a bouncy chord progression somewhat similar to the introduction of "Yours is No Disgrace" by Yes- it even includes some jazzy Steve Howe-like slippery guitar runs and octave work. The flute solo and vocal harmonies are pluses as well. The lyrics are politically simple enough, but the melody is a happy one.

"Anonymous" Snare drum, bass, and brass open with a stately introduction before a heavier, flute-led passage ensues. The flute is masterful, but the electric guitar, lively bass, and animated percussion have a simultaneously spotlight. The piano soloing brings the piece farther into jazz-rock/fusion territory. And that bass solo is something else. As the piece builds even more and the guitar solo takes off, this sounds like something right out of The Allman Brothers Band.

"House of the King" Evoking a light mediaeval feel with flutes and handclaps, the introduction quickly gives way to more flute and clapping, only over a jaunty acoustic guitar, bass, and straightforward drummer, changing things up with a darker electric guitar solo.

"Happy Nightmare (Mescaline)" Very reserved vocals and acoustic guitar introduce a light jazzy song, making wonderful use of the Mellotron and clean lead guitar. While the vocals are not strong, the call and response offers pleasant harmonies.

"Why Dream" Accented chords with acoustic guitar and organ create a song that sounds like something from Chris Squire's Fish Out of Water, especially since the vocalist sounds similar to Yes's bassist. The electric guitar solo is a perfect concluding touch.

"Focus (instrumental)" As one might expect, this is a revisiting of the peaceful opener. Other than a few additional, harder-rocking passages (not the least of which is an extended guitar solo followed by mellow flute), little changes, which ultimately makes the length of this piece questionable.

Epignosis | 3/5 |


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