35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Weird & wonderful,
By A Customer
This review is from: Moving Waves (Audio CD)
Moving Waves is solid glossy rock-pop with an added dash of Dutch weirdness that in the early 70s kept the Led Zep and ELP fans at a confused distance and left Focus to the cooler kids in the school. Focus never really fitted in with the progrock scheme of pompous instrumental noodlings and unlistenable sword-and-sorcery lyrics - they had no vocalist for one thing, just a guitarist whose virtuoso flexibility allowed him to be more articulate than most of the singers around at the time. Focus sounded like they were having fun, wrote great tunes, and could play like nobody's business without ever sliding into endless dribbly soloing. First track, and of course Big Hit, Hocus Pocus, must be one of the most good-humoured pieces ever written - a massive riff, yodelling, pixieish muttering, Morris dancing, and Jan Akkerman spinning out a guitar line as taut and dangerous as tripwire. Listen to him run out of Yodel 2 like a buzzsaw somersaulting along a tightrope. Le Clochard is one of Akkerman's sweet acoustic numbers, as is Janis, if less memorable. The title track is the kind of thing that only Focus (actually, probably only Thijs van Leer) would have done - an oriental poem set to a delicate piano tune sung in a Nice English Accent. Odd, but not unappealing. Focus 2 is one of van Leer's trademark Focus numbers, romantic and melodic with a clean, lyrical guitar theme for Akkerman to caress. (There's also a beautiful version on Akkerman's storming, and scandalously unavailable live album 10,000 Clowns, where he reprises in muscular fashion several other Moving Waves tracks). Final track Eruption is a suite of excellent tunes, including a Sleepy-Shoresish piano piece, a deliciously warm guitar swoon for Akkerman called Tommy, and a central section which lets him stretch out briefly - one flaw on the album in fact is that there's no opportunity for Akkerman to hit full improvisational flight, one of modern music's great experiences. So all in all it's a happy-hippy disc - look at that cover! - with four fine young musicians, one genius, and an assortment of great songs.