The Fo­cus Fam­ily Al­bum in anD Out Of fO­Cus Look­ing for a con­cept work? Look else­where.

Prog - - Limelight - IF

Every­body’s favourite flute-in­clined Dutch prog mae­stros’ lat­est al­bum is some­thing of a baf­fling hotch­potch. Over the course of two discs we’re of­fered rar­i­ties and al­ter­na­tives from 2012’s Fo­cus X, along­side rough sketches for the forth­com­ing Fo­cus XI. There are solo ef­forts from each con­stituent mem­ber too: founder/flautist Thijs Van Leer; veteran drum­mer of 47 years Pierre van der Lin­den; gui­tarist Menno Goot­jes; and rookie bassist Udo Pan­nekeet.

Plus there are in-band col­lab­o­ra­tions: Spir­i­tual Swung (van der Lin­den, Goot­jes and re­cently de­parted bassist Bobby Ja­cob’s im­prov jazzy side project) and Mosh Blues. This is prob­a­bly mid­dlingto-fair news for Fo­cus fans who must have every­thing, but with XI lim­ber­ing up on the touch­line, what’s the point? Even with its Roger Dean cover, …Fam­ily Al­bum’s con­tent is both bulky and in­sub­stan­tial. Un­sur­pris­ingly, van der Lin­den’s River­dance is an un­ac­com­pa­nied drum solo, but so is Spir­i­tual Swung, un­ac­count­ably cred­ited to Fo­cus, which is a bit of a swizz when you con­sider that only six of the 20 tracks are so cred­ited. Even as a Fo­cus 10½, this in­ex­pli­ca­ble, un­fo­cused pot­pourri fetches up some­what short.

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