My first introduction to Pink Cream 69 was in 2001 and it was enough to hook me in. Years later I even made an effort to see them perform at their hometown summer music festival in Karlsruhe, Germany, Das Fest.
It’s been a few years between albums for Pink Cream 69, but the members have been busy with other musical pursuits—Dennis Ward producing talents are always in demand and he’s been hitting the stage with the likes of Unisonic and Gus G; and David Readman has been keeping busy with his various singing projects including recording for and touring with Almanac.
Released through Frontiers Music, HEADSTRONG is Pink Cream 69’s twelfth studio album and was released to mark the bands 30th anniversary.
From the first note of the first song “We Bow to None” PC69 comes out rawer and punchier than what I’m used to with their albums. I like it. It reminds me of their live sound. My initial impression of the album was confirmed when I read Dennis Ward’s description of HEADSTRONG in the initial media release: “…reducing the amount of keyboards and keeping the production to a minimum of sonic layers in order to be as true as possible to our sound—the sound of fat and crunchy guitars”.
When “Walls Come Down” starts, I’m reminded a little of Gotthard’s “Anytime, Anywhere”, but Readman’s unmistakeable voice brings me back to Pink Cream 69 land very quickly.
There’s no mucking about with the tracks on HEADSTRONG. The roots of songs come quickly and we’re spared from painfully long introductions many bands like to write.
“No More Fear” would have to be one of the catchier tunes for me and forces me out of whatever stationery position I may be in when the chorus hits.
Surprisingly, one of the slower songs on the album “Man of Sorrow” has been highlighted as a “single” from the album. It’s slow, but it’s still raw and powerful. The guitar riffs and catchy chorus of “Path of Destiny” make this song another standout for me.
One of the projects David Readman was involved with was a Whitesnake tribute band and while I’m happy his Coverdale tones aren’t represented in HEADSTRONG (as they were in his Voodoo Circle WHISKY FINGERS work), I hear a hint of them when he hits the luscious, rich low notes in the power ballad “Vagrant of the Night”.
The final standout track on this album has to be “Bloodsucker”. It’s heavy, it’s dirty, it’s the perfect song to sing to the oxygen thief in your life.
Descriptions of Pink Cream 69’s music have always wavered between hard rock, melodic metal, melodic rock and at times AOR, but with HEADSTRONG they have released a solid heavy album regardless of what label anyone wants to put on it.
HEADSTRONG has been packaged with a bonus live CD from their show in 2013 at the legendary Rock Fabrik in Ludwigsburg and contains some old PC69 favourites such as “Special” and “The Spirit”.