Focus, founded and led by Thijs van Leer, have been around since the early seventies, and are well known for hits such as the instrumental “Hocus Pocus” (later covered by other bands including Helloween) and “Sylvia”. “Focus X” see’s the return of drummer Pierre van der Linden to the Focus line up, which is sure to please Focus fans for whom his rhythmic playing style is still a defining factor in the Focus sound. The band’s current line-up is completed by Bobby Jacobs, who stems from a well-acclaimed Dutch musical family and guitarist Menno Gootjes, who participated in Focus at an earlier stage. So what does the new “Focus X” album sound like?
“Focus X” has ten songs on offer, and if you buy the album expecting ten fast paced songs in the vein of “Hocus Pocus” you’ll be dissapointed. Yet there are still 3 faster, up tempo tracks on this album: the opener “Father Bachus”, the midway track “All Hens On Deck”, and the closer “X Roads”.
But don’t think that is a criticism of the album. There are some very good, reflective songs on here. Some of the songs here, such as “Focus 10” and “Victoria” wouldn’t be out of place on a bluesy Joe Satriani album. “Hoeratio” is has a slow feel too it, but features some good fretwork with a real 70’s feel. “Talk Of The Clown” has a pleasant rhythm which makes you smile. “Message Magic” is another slow reflective song.
For me the highlights on this album are “Father Bachus”, “All Hens On Deck” and “Talk Of The Clown”.
Verdict: 7/10. “Focus 10” has all the classic hallmarks of a Focus album, is well written and performed, and I think will be well received by Focus fans in general. Personally I would have preferred to hear a few more faster up beat songs on there. That said its a very mature, reflective album and I enjoyed listening to it.
Coinciding with the release of “Focus X”, Focus are touring the UK this November.