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Focus - Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus CD (album) cover

HOCUS POCUS: THE BEST OF FOCUS

Focus

 

Symphonic Prog

3.53 | 65 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to buy or recommend compilations (Best of ... or "The Essential .."), because I believe albums must be listened the way they were recorded by the author, not in the order that a producer or a label wants, but sometimes the original albums are too uneven and full of fillers. In the case of Focus each album has at least one or two fabulous tracks, but are also full of long and sometimes boring instrumental tracks, which are accepted only by the die-hard fan.

"Hocus Pocus, The Best of Focus" is a very good compilation and a perfect introduction for the new listener that needs to get used to their peculiar style with great songs mixed with some shorter instrumentals.

The title track is absolutely weird, the frantic yodeling of Thijs Van Leer is absolutely out of this world, some people take this song as a joke, but I believe it's an attempt to do something unique and never tried before, their attempt was successful, I never heard anything like this, it's a good song, catchy (because of the repetitive guitar chord by Jan Akkerman) and something I'm almost sure nobody will try again. Words are not enough to describe this track.

"Hocus Pocus" is followed by "Anonymous" an aggressive and fast song with great flute, killer piano, strong bass and spectacular drums, this track has everything, can't understand why it's not considered a classic by everybody.

The best song IMO is the amazing "House of the King", with a spectacular flute that makes the casual listener believe he's in front of Jethro Tull, but mostly because of the perfect bass played by Cyril Havermans. If the flute makes the song unforgettable, the bass carries all the weight of the song, a masterpiece.

This compilation also contains the band's first hit "Silvia", an instrumental with the classic flamenco sound that was Focus trade mark melancholic but strong enough and not boring at all.

Taken from their best album "Hamburger Concerto", "Harem Scarem" is absolutely breathtaking, fast and full of power with few and soft semi yodels by Van Leer, is a classic of the band. More medieval and soft, "Bennie Helder" is another unknown classic of the band, excellent changes and a very good piano makes of this track an underrated one.

The album ends with the US single version of "Hocus Pocus", more rhythmic with great bass but still frantic and aggressive.

Probably the hardest song to accept by the newbie is "Focus (Instrumental)" a 9:32 minutes song that consists mostly in a flute-guitar and drums solo, but in defense of the band I must say it's a very good one, strong and jazzy it's easier to swallow by almost everybody.

"Janis" is also another instrumental but it's special beauty makes of it a must have.

The other tracks are good enough to keep the interest of the listener without abusing of the endless guitar and keyboards typical of this peculiar but correct band.

So against what I usually do, I strongly recommend this album not only to the new listener but also to the prog' fan that is not willing to listen endless instrumentals but wants to have the Focus classics.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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