Moving Waves - (1972)
The album that boosted Focus into at least semi-fame outside of continental Europe, Moving Waves blasts off with their hit single, "Hocus Pocus." Built around a killer guitar hook by Jan Akkerman and a series of solo turns by the band, this instrumental replaced "Wipeout" as a staple of FM radio. The bizarrely hilarious vocal and accordion solos by Thijs van Leer — one of which absurdly concludes with rousing stadium cheers — have to be heard to be believed. After this over-the-top performance, the other tracks seem comparatively constrained: the gentle "Le Clochard" features some gorgeous classical guitar over Mellotron strings. The album concludes with "Eruption," which while mimicking the multi-suite nomenclature of Yes and King Crimson, is essentially a side-long jam session. Stop-time Emersonian organ solos alternate with languid sections of jazzy guitar redolent of Santana, while still other sections are flat-out electric blues-rock stomps. It's impressive playing, though it comes off as a bit meandering after the tightly structured solos that began the album.