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Focus 9/New Skin Import

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, October 2, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

New studio album from probably Holland's most famous musical export.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Black Beauty
  2. Focus 7
  3. Remember Mozart
  4. Sylvia's Stephs
  5. Niels's Skin
  6. Eddy Voc Jo
  7. Aya Yuppie
  8. Focus 9
  9. Curtain Call
  10. Ode To Venus
  11. European Rap
  12. Pim
  13. It Takes 2


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 2, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: RED BULLET
  • ASIN: B000IHYWH2
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,147 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Probyn Gregory on May 29, 2007
Format: Audio CD
First off; if you like strong melodic themes and thoughtful arrangements, this largely instrumental band is for you. Depending on what side of Focus that the listener fancies, this is either a moderately successful attempt to keep current or, a showcase for neo-Classicisms and restrained melody or a romp in the field with Thijs and the boys whooping their way through. Or (you fill in the blank). With half the original line-up (Thijs and Pierre play superbly, not to take anything away from Niels and Bobby, but you feel the maturity in the formers' craftsmanship), one could be forgiven for expecting the controlled majesty mixed with fervent soloing that the 1970s LPs brought with such splendor. And here we do see Thijs in fine compositional form (perhaps him at his best is Dona Nobis Pacem, his side band project [by Pedal Point] of the early 80s, I highly recommend it). However, the more modern passages intermixed, funky and rocky, are not particularly up to former standards harmonically or ideawise, which I'm not altogether sure is Thijs' fault -- it often sounds like the band is just having fun riffing on whatever fell first from their collective hands. Niels does a creditable job on guitar, but as other reviewers have noted, he has large shoes to fill and needs a bit more of an instrumental voice. I have studied him on youtube and believe he is beginning to approach this threshold.

All in all, a very nice outing from a wonderfully unique band I feared had crumbled post-Focus 8.
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Format: Audio CD
FOCUS once again shows the "old timers" are still the best! Great tunes, great soloing, tasty, with a sense of humor (one tune has Thijs Van Leer making a story out of the titles of old Focus tunes). Pierre Van Der Linden is back in the fold, with his best drumming and drum SOUND ever! NO ONE sounds like these guys, they still have a sound all their owm and instantly recognizable without being dated. Enjoy....
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Format: Audio CD
No one does elegant, timeless Euro music quite like Focus. No one does unabashedly goofy quite like Focus does either. As always, you get a bit of both here. This is mostly instrumental music, clearly built-to-order for fans of the band's classic 1971-74 albums, or especially the superb out-takes collection Ship of Memories. In fact several of these new songs do sound like out-takes from the golden past, albeit very good ones that are a real treat to hear. They were recorded in 2005, but you'd hardly know it. Thijs van Leer sticks to Hammond, piano and flute - no synths thankfully - and his usual oddball vocalese. Almost-original drummer Pierre van der Linden returns for his first work with the band since 1973, and his distinct style & sound are a pleasure as they always were. Guitarist Niels van der Steenhoven is a near-perfect Akkerman clone, who manages to throw in some nicely unexpected twists just as Jan would have. The band really does sound in top form here, and will not disappoint.

Aside from the Focus' stately, Bach-inspired music, we get dollops of funk, jazz and rock thrown in to make things interesting. Van Leer has always had a special gift for blending these disparate styles together really seamlessly, unlike some of his prog contemporaries. It's even arguable whether Focus is quite prog at all, since their melodies and arrangements are much simpler and more straightforward than prog typically is. No tricky time signatures, complex layering or epic solos here.

If there were a lot of Focus albums, there would be no need for this one. But the original band faltered and faded before it had really peaked, and has rarely been heard from since its brief heyday. We are certainly not swamped with Focus back-catalogue. I received this CD in the mail a couple of Christmases ago, and it does feel like a welcome, nostalgic gift from the past.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I known this isn't Focus at the absolute top of their game, but boy, it is as close as it gets. I also have Focus 8 and IMHO this one is far superior. The only song I didn't really care for was the one with the excessive vocals so I left it off the disc when I burned it (I bought MP3 version). But other then that, if you love Focus then I have the feeling you will love this record.
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