Out of Focus

Wake Up

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Out of Focus' first album does an interesting take on jazz- and blues-inflected progressive rock, with a peculiar German twist on music similar to British prog like Traffic, Jethro Tull, and Gravy Train. The crack rhythm section propels the music along on repetitive but unusual funk grooves over which guitar, organ, and flute riff and take turns soloing. Though more song-oriented than later efforts by the group, there are plenty of long instrumental passages with some classic heavy psychedelic guitar burn-up as well as chunky organ chords and airy flute flights to give the music plenty of texture. Moran Neumuller's gruff voice and awkward English may turn off some listeners, though the dark humor of his lyrics on tracks like "God Save the Queen, Cried Jesus" show a group who's political without getting stuck in the rut of their own dogma. For many bands, a record as good as Wake Up would be a worthy culmination of effort, though with Out of Focus it was only their launch pad as they continued onward and outward with even better subsequent releases.

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