The Focus Family Album


Focus Records, 2018

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Focus was, and sometimes still is, a Dutch progressive rock band who found success in the United States during the first half of the 1970s. Formed in the late ‘60s by Thijs Van Leer, the band’s early lineup included guitar virtuoso Jan Akkerman. Albums such as my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Moving Waves (1972), Focus 3 (1971), and Hamburger Concerto (1974) sold several million copies in the United States and produced the quirky hit single “Hocus Pocus.”

The Focus Family Album is a two-disc, 20 track CD that includes 10 tracks by the band and 10 tracks by various current and former members – hence the name of the album.

The group tracks are modern era in origin, originally recorded for several different projects. They represent the band’s current approach to competent progressive rock. The solo tracks are more eclectic and experimental. How good they are depends on the listeners’ ability to stretch their minds.

Individual solos dominate each band member’s contributions. Pierre van der Linden presents two tracks from his experimental Drum Poetry album. Band leader This van Leer donates two flute pieces that run counter to the drum tracks. “Hazel” is an acoustic guitar piece by Menno Gootjes that demonstrates his precise style. Udo Pannekeet brings a unique approach to his bass playing through the use of a fretless bass on “Song For Yaminah” and a six string bass on “Anaya.”

The album is not a cohesive affair. The full band tracks have a finished feel, while the individual pieces find the members experimenting and, in some cases, doodling on their own. In many ways, this aspect of the release showcases the band deconstructed.

The Focus Family Album is a niche release for hardcore fans of the band. If you want to experience their full power and creativity, check out their 1970s albums instead.

Rating: C

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© 2018 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Focus Records, and is used for informational purposes only.