RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Focus – X
Eastworld Records


Rating: B+

Focus is the world’s greatest Dutch rock band. Their biggest claim to fame in America is the instrumental “Hocus Pocus” which became a rock classic way back in 1971. The band, off and on throughout their career, is still led by the enigmatic front man Thijs van Leer.

While it may be easy to write this one off and say that the band is just trying to put out an album to get a gig and thus get a paycheck, that line of thinking is plain and simply wrong. The album X features ten musically interesting and complex compositions.

Beginning with the fun “Father Bachus” Focus demonstrates an uncanny ability to create music that is part rock, part progressive and part jazz. The musical dynamic of the band are further shown in the song “Focus 10” and another side, equally challenging, is brought out on “All Hens on Deck.” “Message Magic” is a lesson in musicianship as “Hoeratio” is a lesson in songwriting.

All things fell into place on this album as van Leer explains, “It’s a thrill to have finally completed Focus X; we are all ecstatic and looking forward to playing the new material on the forthcoming Focus X Tour.”@@

The album cover features a painting by the famous prog rock artist Roger Dean, which completes the package.

By Jeb Wright