Focus — Focus 11
(In and Out of Focus, 2018, CD / LP / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2019-03-24
Focus is a band with a very long history, and with Focus 11 they give us a new album of studio material, following on from Focus X (2012). Leader Thijs van Leer is joined on this excursion by long-time drummer Pierre van der Linden, guitarist Menno Gootjes (who came on board with X), and new bassist Udo Pannekeet. Aside from one track by Pannekeet, van Leer penned all the music, and all of the tricks in his bag (minus the yodeling) are present. You get soaring pseudo-classical melodies, stately chord progressions, break-out heavier moments, delicate flute passages, and so on. For die-hard Focus fans, this will no doubt be welcome as more of what they love, but for more casual listeners, it might well count as more of the same, as it really doesn’t add anything to the band’s legacy. Focus 11 is full of tracks that on another band’s album might stand out as impressive, but in van Leer’s impressive body of work, are more or less average. If you’re unfamiliar with Focus, I’d still advise starting with Focus II (Moving Waves) or Focus 3, but if you’re familiar with the classic 70s material and hunger for more, this should do the trick.
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