PINK CREAM 69 – Headstrong

To be honest, I have never cared much for Pink Cream 69. Not that I think that they suck, it’s just that their music has never stuck with me at all. My first introduction with the band was when a friend of mine brought their second album One Size Fits All (1992) over to my place and said that I just had to check this band out. So I did. And even though I found songs like “Livin’ My Life For You” and “Talk To The Moon” pretty great songs, I really couldn’t hear the greatness my friend heard and consequently I never started to follow the band even though I have listened through that album multiple times since I first heard it. A good album by a good band that didn’t stood out properly for me. I almost saw them live when they opened for White Lion in the late 80’s (I think) but I decided White Lion weren’t great enough for me buying a ticket and I never went. I wonder if I would have looked different on Pink Cream 69 if I had gone to that concert…

Today, Pink Cream 69 to me is just the band whose singer – Andi Deris – Helloween stole to replace Michael Kiske with. The new album Headstrong is their 12th album to date since their self titled debut came out in 1989 and it is actually the only one I have listened to back to back since One Size Fits All. Today, Pink Cream 69’s line-up is as follows: Dennis Ward, the founder and also in Unisonic, Sunstorm, Place Vendome, Khymera and Magnum’s Bob Catley’s solo band, on bass, guitarist Alfred Kofler (also an original member), singer David Readman (Voodoo Circle) who replaced Deris in 1994, guitarist Uwe Reitenauer and drummer Chris Schmidt. When I listened through this record the first couple of times, I decided to look upon them as a new band, with an open mind and judge them as that without any preconceived opinions what so ever. So here we go.

They open the album with “We Bow To None”, a plain, straight-forward hard rocker, pretty edgy with an in-your-face punch. It reminds me of a rougher 80’s Rainbow, melodic hard rock with an added heaviness. It’s a good song even though I find it somewhat forgettable. “Walls Come Down” is heavier with a balls-to-the-wall rhythm and aggressive guitars. Readman does a fine job vocally here and it will probably work great live. I like the tune – a good song, no more, no less. “Unite And Divide” is a mid-paced, groovy hard rock tune with a slight Led Zeppelin influence on the guitar riffs. It’s catchy enough and I like the raunchy feel. It reminds me some of Gotthard melody wise. Best song so far. “No More Fear” is better yet. It’s a good, rhythmic classic hard rock tune with a distinct and catchy refrain and a ballsy rhythm. A damn good tune that clearly stands out from the rest – great.

The first ballad out is called “Man Of Sorrow” and it is a pretty heavy one. It’s a mix of 70’s rock and 80’s power balladry and it works like a charm. Think Gotthard meets classic Whitesnake and you’re pretty close. It’s a great song and – I guess – a future single. It really must be! “Path Of Destiny”, a stellar rocker with a ballsy and more rough outcome, follows. This is a pretty much straight forward, in-your-face stomper, steady and distinct hard rock tune. Not very original but still at damn good tune. Second ballad off the album is called “Vagrant Of The Night” and it is very much a “Stairway To Heaven” rip-off in many places and when it’s not, it turns into a standard power ballad. I guess it’s an ok tune but it didn’t leave an impression on me at all – easily forgotten. “Bloodsucker” is damn good one, though. It’s a catchy, classic hardrocker, full of attitude and balls. I guess some chick did a good heartbreaking job on the lyricist of this song. Reminds me somewhat of the sound on the One Size Fits All album – very good.

We get a tough, fat, punchy rocker with some really heavy riffing in “Whistleblower”. It also comes with a very catchy refrain that’s completely saccharine free and the mix of heaviness and catchiness makes this song the winner of this album – great! The album closes with “The Other Man”, a mid-paced, pretty groovy classic hard rock tune with a decent main melody and a pretty good chorus. But it’s a bit too middle-of-the-road for me and passes by more or less unnoticed. On some editions, there’s also a bonus live disc included but the way I see it, it’s only for the hard-core Pink Cream 69 fans. Sure, it do includes my three favorite PC 69 tracks “Talk To The Moon”, “Do You Like It Like That” and “Livin’ My Life For You” and yes, they come across as a really good live band (I’d check them out if they were booked for, say, Sweden Rock) but I wouldn’t spend any extra green on the bonus disc edition.

As a whole, I didn’t find this album that special at all and mostly, it didn’t stick with me at all. Pink Cream 69 is a standard, pretty regular hard rock band that lacks a real identity and something that sets them apart from the rest, at least to my ears. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing for me, though but this is an album that makes me feel like I have heard it a gazillion times before, both better and worse. Yes, they are really good musicians and the production is stellar without any complaints for me and it’s great that Readman have left his biggest Coverdale complexes – the ones that shines through like crazy in Voodoo Circle – at home. The problem is that most songs never takes off, they never takes a hold and grabs me. They’re not bad, they just are. To compare the quality of this album to the rest of PC 69’s releases is something for the other guy to do because I can’t. To me this is a decent, ok album – no more, no less. And for last, I have always wondered about their name so if someone out there knows what the heck the meaning behind the name Pink Cream 69 is, please let me know!

5/10

Tracklist:

1. We Bow To None
2. Walls Come Down
3. Unite And Divide
4. No More Fear
5. Man Of Sorrow
6. Path Of Destiny
7. Vagrant Of The Night
8. Bloodsucker
9. Whistleblower
10. The Other Man

Bonus Live CD:

1. Special
2. Talk To The Moon
3. Break The Silence
4. Do You Like It Like That
5. The Spirit
6. Livin’ My Life For You
7. Wasted Years
8. Welcome The Night
9. Shame

 

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