Fireworks

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Focus - 'Golden Oldies' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/64/eb/51/Focus-Golden-Oldies-88-1419453654.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 24, 2014    
 
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If you've not yet encountered Focus then this is as good a place to start.

I don't know whether it was the catalyst for this album (it would have been a major marketing opportunity missed if it weren't) but it can't have hurt the band's profile to have their track 'Hocus Pocus' feature in the latest in the 'RoboCop' series of movies.

Rather than bringing out a standard compilation, the current iteration of the band (founder Thijs van Leer, Pierre van der Linden, Bobby Jacobs and Menno Gootjes) has chosen to get into the studio and record new versions of the selected tracks; personally, I'd have trodden the Steve Hackett path and called the album something like 'Revisited' rather than 'Golden Oldies' as perceptually that sends out a less than encouraging vibe (i.e. dated), which is a shame because it's a rather pleasing collection. Mind you, it depends on your definition of an 'oldie' because 'Aya-Yuppie-Hippie-Yee' is as recent as 2006; not that long ago for a band who released their debut album in 1970.

I have to confess that I was somewhat ambivalent about reviewing this album but it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise and maybe served its purpose by reminding me of the band's wonderful heritage and made me drag out their back catalogue for a listen.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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They have been pretty faithful to the original versions, which is a wise move as the longstanding fans really don't like the classics being messed with, however what they have done is refresh the sound, update the production and inject a little more vibrancy.

The track selection will be fairly obvious to an existing fan; you get the "hits" 'Sylvia' and the aforementioned '...Pocus', both of which are rightly hailed as classics. Guitarist Gootjes shines across the entire album and shows he's a worthy successor to the revered Jan Akkerman; his solo on 'Tommy' being particularly good as is his lead work on the closing number, 'Brother'.

By the same token, van Leer's Hammond Organ work is fantastic; he must be one of the best exponents of that instrument, right up there with Jon Lord. Similarly, along with Ian Anderson he made the flute work in a Rock context. Talking of Anderson, 'House Of The King' has a vibe redolent of Jethro Tull as it bounces along on a jaunty refrain.

If you've not yet encountered Focus then this is as good a place to start as any as it lends modern production values to some splendid musical creations.

Gary Marshall

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  • SeaDog57 : Thanks Berny got it
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