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Focus is known around the world for its iconic albums, including the hits HOCUS POCUS, SYLVIA and HOUSE OF THE KING.The NEW STUDIO ALBUM Focus 11 features: oSIR THIJS VAN LEER oPIERRE VAN DER LINDEN oMENNO GOOTJESoUDO PANNEKEETThe band's 11th studio album showcases the current line-up's new music and is housed in a stunning 6 panel digipack with new artwork by ROGER DEAN.This is the first new Focus studio album in SIX YEARS!The same line-up of the band is touring worldwide in support of the album throughout 2019, building up to a 50th Anniversary Tour in 2020..Official website: www.focustheband.com
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Thijs Van Leer wisely works from his strengths and has discarded the stuff (the yodeling!) that belongs to a different era. His touch is softer and more deft, and he allows the rest of the ensemble to contribute a new vitality and bring a freash sound to what is still at its core the Focus that we know and love. Some of the guitars ("Palindrome") are aggressive and driving, not in a "Hocus Pocus" way but more contemporary. The drums have a loose but pronounced feel and can really be experienced in a very clean mix. The layers work, nothing gets lost.
Focus 11 is one of my most favorite records of the last few years and should be in the collection of anyone who has enjoyed the treasure that is Focus.
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So far for me there are three pieces which stand above the rest i.e are the preferred 'go to' pieces: Mezzel, Mare Nostrum and Who's Calling, all of which are the jazzier/rockier compositions.....It would be interesting to know how many Focus fans recognise the main theme of Who's Calling, lifted from a 1985 collaboration between Van Leer and Jan Akkerman. However, Focus 11 is growing on me and I can only hope given time that the remaining tracks will likewise grow.
And that's the problem. For me they are stuck firmly in the past, with nothing new or different, and whilst the musicianship is there (hence two stars), its just the same old same old.
So, buy the 70's stuff if you like it, this is just a rehash
Merle over and out...………..