After the muddled crossover attempt of Grab It for a Second, Golden Earring regrouped in its native Holland to record this album. This time, lead guitarist George Kooymans took over the production reins and all the group's members collaborated to write the album. There is a poppier, hook-oriented edge to the songwriting and self-indulgent epics are downplayed in favor of tight, short songs hovering around the three-minute mark. As a result, No Promises...No Debts continues the straightforward hard rock direction of the last few albums but manages to retain Golden Earring's distinctive personality, even as it pushes the group in a more commercial, AOR direction. It overflows with well-crafted pop/rockers like "Heart Beat," a pulsating tune built on a clever stuttering guitar riff, and "Don't Stop the Show," an intense speed rocker that became a concert favorite. This album also won the group a major European hit single in "Weekend Love," a sprightly pop/rocker about romantic hassles built on an insidiously catchy singalong chorus. Although the basic style of these songs is guitar rock, the group wisely adds several instrumental accents to keep things interesting: "Sellin' Out" incorporates a drum machine into its beat, "Save Your Skin" utilizes Barry Hay's flute-playing skills for the first time in years, and imaginative but restrained synthesizer flourishes color several of the other songs. The one real downside of No Promises...No Debts is that the group concentrates so hard on the overall craftsmanship of the album that it takes a few listens for individual songs to stand out on their own. That minor complaint aside, No Promises...No Debts remains a stylish, consistent album of pop-flavored hard rock that will please Golden Earring fans as well as the casual listener.
AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco