Focus: one of the great Dutch progressive bands, ‘Moving Waves’ originally titled ‘Focus II’ is their second and perhaps best album.
Written by: Eric
ALBUM: Moving Waves
SERIAL: 2310 150
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Netherlands
LINEUP: Thijus Van Leer – lead vocals, flute, keyboards, hammond organ * Jan Akkerman – guitar * Cyril Havermans – bass * Pierre Van Der Linden – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Hocus Pocus * 02 Le Clochard * 03 Janis * 04 Moving Waves * 05 Focus II ‘ Eruption: a) Orfeus, b) Answer, c) Orfeus, d) Answer, e) Pupilla, f) Tommy g) Pupilla, h) Answer, i) The Bridge, j) Euridice, k) Dayglow, l) Endless Road, m) Answer, n) Orfeus, o) Euridice
WEBLINKS: Site Link
One of the great Dutch progressive bands, ‘Moving Waves’ originally titled ‘Focus II’ is the Amsterdam based outfit’s second album and certainly one of their best. Formed in 1969 by members who made up the band that backed the Dutch version of the musical ‘Hair’, Focus with this album created a big buzz on both sides of the Atlantic bolstered by one of the most unusual hit singles to come out of the 1970’s.
‘Hocus Pocus’ with its heavy metal riffing, yodeling, scat singing and accordion remains a masterpiece of rock weirdness and there’s never been anything quite like it since. It landed the group in the top 10 in both Holland and America and although not a hit in the UK until 1973, the band began touring the kingdom in earnest in 1972 as a headline act and managed a coveted appearance at the Reading Festival below The Faces and Electric Light Orchestra.
But ‘Moving Waves’ is more than just ‘Hocus Pocus’. This is a beautifully executed Prog album with moving classical instrumentals ‘Le Clochard’ and the lilting ‘Janis’ highlighted by Thijus Van Leer’s beautiful flute work. The piano based title track reminds me of the direction The Enid would take on their 80’s albums.
The to-die-for melody of ‘Focus II’ and Jan Akkerman’s soaring guitar sends shivers through this reviewer every time I hear it. It’s really gorgeous stuff, Classical rock at its very best. The epic multi-movement ‘Eruption’ takes up all of what was side two and it’s essentially an all-out jam session with jazzy bits, Gregorian chant, drum solos-you name it, it’s all here and it works exceedingly well.
‘Focus 3’ followed in 1972 and what many consider their best ‘Hamburger Concerto’ saw release in 1973 followed by an extensive U.S. tour. Their quality began to slip as the 70’s wore on and while they are still putting out occasional studio albums and touring, I haven’t bothered looking into any of it and really have no interest. Stick with ‘Moving Waves’ and the albums mentioned above. It’s all the Focus you’ll ever need.