Cherry Red 2014
On the new crest of their profile’s moving wave, Dutch veterans surf across the back catalogue to bring it to the shore.
Not a spent force by any means, it was the success of the new “RoboCop,” where “Hocus Pocus” featured prominently, that made FOCUS look back and remodel pieces from various stages of their career for a new era – arguably, to go along with the movie’s idea. The record’s title is misleading, though, as the follow-up to 2012’s "X" updates not only classics but also fairly recent additions to their musical cache such as “Neurotica” or “Aya-Yuppie-Hippie-Yee” from its two predecessors. Yet if the re-recording of these doesn’t really change their shape, the same can’t be said about the genuinely golden material.
The aforementioned “Hocus Pocus” the collection’s gambit, the significant change/sacrifice is obvious from the off as erstwhile idiosyncrasy gives way to slick rocking. Thijs van Leer’s vocal parts – save for the legendary yodel – follow suit as Menno Gootjes’s guitar and Pierre van der Linden’s drums rage on, while “Sylvia” restores the rough factor thanks to its funky start and a piano ripple. It’s clearly a game, as “Focus 3 & 2” is a single piece now, and “House Of The King” passes its baroque intro to “Focus 1” which, previously an instrumental, acquires a Latinesque dance and a song, the voice and words also gracing “Tommy,” earlier a part of “Eruption” and a full-blown fusion flight in its own right here, as well as “Brother.”
As a result, what could have been a vain self-glorification turned out to be a signifier of FOCUS’ life energy. Golden, indeed.