Peter Steward's Web Site

   

Home Page Music Reviews Book Reviews Biography My Writing Sign Guestbook Contact Me

 Focus

Studio Albums

Moving Waves - 1971

Focus III - 1972

 

Compilations

 

 

 

 

Focus

Moving Waves - 6.5

Hocus Pocus/Le Clochard/Janis/Moving Waves/ Focus II/ Eruption

Hocus Pocus must be one of the strangest tracks of all time. I have never made up my mind whether I like it for its originality or loathe it as being just a ridiculous piece of music with its yodelling vocals. It remains the band's best known piece of music so I suppose that must say something. Elsewhere Moving Waves is dominated by the 23 minute piece Eruption with its mix of jazz and classical influences and some wonderful Jan Akkerman guitar work. The album as a whole falls somewhere between classical and prog rock - good enough as a starter but not quite appetising enough as a main course.

 

Focus III - 7

Round Goes the Gossip/ Love Remembered/ Sylvia/ Carnival Fugue/ Focus III/ Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!/ Anonymus II/ Elspeth of Nottingham/ House of the King.

A sprawling album that somehow managed to mix searing melodies and guitar work with more experimental freestyle prog rock. Plenty of jazz and classical references there as well. Ironically the two outstanding tracks on the album are both heavily guitar based but written not by guitarist Jan Akkerman but by classically inspired Thijs Van Leer. Sylvia and Focus III are both wonderfully melodic examples of guitar prog at its best. Elsewhere the album is a real hotch potch with Anonymus II weighing in at a huge 27 minutes and Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers 14 minutes. This is essentially an instrumental album apart from a few Latin ramblings on the open track. Nevertheless in the context of the times it was almost a ground-breaking effort from a band who have always been one of my favourites in the overblown world of prog rock. Elspeth of Nottingham and House of the King are both quiet and stylish pieces.