Label: In and Out of Focus Records (2018)
Rating: Classic Focus Music that Shines!
I will freely admit Iím a bit of stickler when it comes to bandís having a signature sound. I think itís a good thing. I also donít see where having a signature sound is incompatible with a band trying new things. Itís not an either/or thing. Which brings me to the brand new Focus album entitled simply 11 (Eleven). For a band that many may have written off years ago, Focus have been very musically active and the eleven tunes on this fifty-two minute disc are a clear sign theyíve lost none of their creative juices. From the first tune to the last, this is a continuation of the Focus sound created in large part by band mainstay Thijs van Leer who wrote all but one of these tunes. Every tune is around four or five minutes except the last track, ďFocus 11Ē which comes in at a little over six. Infused in each of these tunes is the classic Focus feel which relies heavily on both Classical and Medieval-ish influences. The tunes meander through a myriad of twists and turns all built around some core melodic riffs and rhythmic patterns some more complex than others. Fact is Focus are quite comfortable taking the intricate musical path such as in ďHeavenĒ [4:26] or the more easy and placid path of a tune such as ďTheodora na na naĒ [4:27]. But whichever compositional journey they embark on you can expect to hear the sound of Focus incorporating a bit of jazzy flair one moment and bluesy rock the next all embellished with van Leerís trademark flute and organ sounds. And letís not forget the guitar as Menno Gootjes has taken the bandís original guitar sound, updated it and made his approach a logical extension of what came before. Focus 11 is yet another welcome addition to the bandís catalog and Iím quite sure fans worldwide will find much to enjoy. If youíre new to Progressive Rock this would be a fine album to discover the music of one of the genreís classic bands.