Friday, July 15, 2016

Jan Akkerman and Thijs Van Leer - 1985 - Focus

Jan Akkerman and Thijs Van Leer 

01. Russian Roulette 5:54
02. King Kong 3:55
03. Le Tango 4:55
04. Indian Summer 5:50
05. Beethoven's Revenge (Bach-One-Turbo-Overdrive) 10:47
06. Ole Judy 3:52
07. Who's Calling 7:30

- Jan Akkerman / acoustic, electric & synth guitars, Linndrum programming
- Thijs van Leer / Hammond, Fender Rhodes, Fairlight, Yamaha DX7, Roland JX3P, grand piano, soprano & alto flutes, vocals,

- Tato Gomez / bass (1,4)
- Ruud Jacobs / bass (5), co-producer
- Ustad Zamir Ahmad Khan / tabla (4)
- Sergio Castillo / drumfills (3)
- Ed Starink / Fairlight synthesizer programming

This is a highly underrated album and (almost) stands comparison with Focus' 70s peaks of Moving Waves and Hamburger Concerto.
This van Leer plays flute and synths with all his usual skill and Jan Akkerman's guitar playing still has fire in its belly, particularly the blazing soloing on Ole Judy and the evocative atmospherics of Who's Calling? Russian Roulette is my favourite track, having a lovely relaxed piano/guitar motif which repeatedly segues into more upbeat sections with great precussive piano.

The weakspots are Beethoven's Revenge which is a somewhat pedestrian funk number and Indian Summer which, while pleasant enough, sounds like something they might play in my local Tandoori!

Also there are no proper drums on the album (where was Pierre van der Linden?) and the use of synthesised percussion can be annoying (this was the 80s after all). But still Focus' talent was more than enough to rise above that naffest of decades to produce a very enjoyable album.

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