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Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics: The Man With The Stars On His Knees

At one point they were Hurricane Party, then Roadstar, but fronted by Richie Havenz, they were always destined to become Heaven’s Basement. A cracking classic rock outfit, HB quickly morphed into something else and it was the introduction of new singer Aaron Buchanan that seemed to facilitate the evolution of the band into something more current and ‘for the kids’. Kerrang! sat up and took notice and so did festival organisers far and wide. 2013’s Filthy Empire confirmed the promise some early EPs had suggested and it seemed that the Basement boys were destined for the top floor. That was until Buchanan decided to jump ship and Heaven’s Basement disintegrated, with other members sharpening an act called The Cruel Knives.

Six years on from that debut album, the singer is back with his mouthful of a band, Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics, and their equally wordy first offering, The Man With The Stars On His Knees (hereafter to be known as TMWTSOHK for fear of overworking my keyboard). In all honesty, unless you tune in closely to the vocals alone, the chances of even telling that the singer in this band is that guy from those modern hard rock sensations, is nigh on impossible. Cult Classics indeed, Buchanan is steering this ship in a different direction entirely. “Show What You’re Made Of” opens the account, a short, moody slap of snare and melodious vocals hinting at Muse through its warbling bass tones. But in truth we’re delving further back here, for while Foo Fighters, through the proud strut of “All The Things You’ve Said And Done”, and The Darkness via the grandiose nature of “The Devil That Needs You”, are also brought to mind, it’s Queen that often looms large here - or at least the band Queen were on their first few albums.

That said, “A God Is No Friend” slows things right down and invites the spirit of Layne Stayley to howl at the moon on this slow, grind of Alice In Chains. It’s effective, if a little out of place, while “Left Me For Dead” is another Muse like anthem with a dirty heart and glistening grin. What all this confirms is that AB&TCC aren’t a one trick pony, guitar brothers Tom and Laurie McCarthy as key to the high points on TMWTSOHK as the chap fronting their intricate, believable riffs and stinging solos. To be fair to Mart Trail on bass and Paul White on drums, a mighty bottom end is also required to pull off the tricks that are abracadabra’d on the spiralling AIC (again) like “Mind Of A Mute” and mid-paced strut of classic Queen rock that is “Morals?” with its upbeat wallop of a chorus.

“Undertow” hints at the past of the frontman, a more modern attack and rhythmical pulse relied on than you’ll find elsewhere, but it’s the romp n’ roll of “Dancin’ Down Below” and the Queen meets Muse (I know, I know…) of the triumphal title track that suggest great things might lie ahead for this band. At times it can feel like this debut album is trying just a little too hard, although the longer you spend with it, the more that fades away. When, as they do on these latter two tracks in particular, this band gets it right, they really are magnificent. If they can pull off that trick a little more consistently, who knows where they might end up?


Track Listing
1. Show Me What You're Made Of
2. All The Things You've Said And Done
3. Dancin' Down Below
4. The Devil That Needs You
5. Journey Out of Here
6. The Man With Stars On His Knees
7. A God Is No Friend
8. Left Me For Dead
9. Mind Of A Mute
10. Morals?

Added: March 10th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics online
Hits: 154
Language: english

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