|Studio album by Focus|
|Recorded||13 April–14 May 1971|
|Studio||Sound Techniques and Morgan Studios
|Genre||Progressive rock, jazz fusion, hard rock, instrumental rock|
Focus II (better known as its international title Moving Waves) is the second studio album from the Dutch rock band Focus, released in October 1971 on Imperial Records. Following the departure of Martin Dresden and Hans Cleuver in 1970, the band recruited Cyril Havermans on bass and Pierre van der Linden on drums and proceeded to work on new material. The album includes "Hocus Pocus", the group's most successful single, and "Eruption", a 22-minute track based on the opera Euridice by Jacopo Peri.
Focus II was released to a mostly positive response. It remains one of the band's most commercially successful albums, reaching No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 8 on the US Billboard 200. "Hocus Pocus" was released as a single in 1971, but did not chart until 1973 when it reached No. 9 in the US and No. 20 in the UK. The album is certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales in excess of 500,000 copies.
The single "Hocus Pocus" was Focus' biggest hit and gained the band international popularity. The song, similar in some regards to the riff-driven hard rock of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, anticipated many aspects of 1980s heavy metal music, and especially the guitar work of Yngwie Malmsteen with Akkerman's use of the harmonic minor and Hungarian minor scales, uncommon in rock music in the early 1970s.
Radical departures in musical styles follow in the remaining tracks of the album. "Le Clochard" ("The Beggar" in French), also entitled "Bread", is a melancholy classical guitar piece by Akkerman with van Leer backing on Mellotron strings. "Janis", another Akkerman-penned ballad, becomes a flute showcase for van Leer with multiple tracks on that instrument. "Moving Waves", a piano and vocal solo by Thijs van Leer, features lyrics by Sufi poet/master musician Inayat Khan. "Focus II" features the entire band in a classical-jazz fusion instrumental with graceful changes of time signature.
"Eruption" is a 23-minute-long instrumental piece, a hard rock version of the tale of Orpheus and Euridice and an updated and more modern version of Jacopo Peri's opera Euridice. An uncredited melody from Monteverdi's L'Orfeo opens the suite, and a later segment includes the haunting "Tommy" (after its author Tom Barlage of the Dutch fusion band Solution). The Zappa-inspired "The Bridge" is a heavily syncopated jam session, culminating in some solo guitar riffs reminiscent of "Hocus Pocus". "Euridice", penned by Eelko Nobel, is a classical lied which segues into the Gregorian "Dayglow", then van der Linden's drum solo, "Endless Road". The suite ends with a return to its opening themes, uniting them with "Euridice" with van der Linden's freeform percussion effectively evoking the sound of fireworks for the finale.
Focus II was released in October 1971 to mainly positive reception. It went on to peak at number 2 on the UK Albums Chart, number 8 on the US Billboard 200, and number 9 on the Dutch Top 40 chart.
|1.||"Hocus Pocus"||Thijs van Leer, Jan Akkerman||6:42|
|2.||"Le Clochard (Bread)"||Akkerman||2:01|
|4.||"Moving Waves"||van Leer, Inayat Khan||2:42|
|5.||"Focus II"||van Leer||4:00|
- Thijs van Leer – Hammond organ, piano, mellotron, harmonium, flutes, vocals
- Jan Akkerman – guitars, bass guitar
- Cyril Havermans – bass guitar, vocals on "Pupilla"
- Pierre van der Linden – drums, percussion
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