Aaron Buchanan and The Cult Classics

It was a sad day for many rock fans in October 2015, when dirty live rockers Heaven’s Basement parted ways with their vocalist, Aaron Buchanan. As HB were my favourite band and I had seen them nearly twenty times over the space of three or so years, it was pretty disappointing. However, news soon filtered down about two new bands rising out of the HB ashes; one featuring the other members plus a new vocalist and of course, Aaron Buchanan and The Cult Classics.

I wasn’t sure about the band name, but I was prepared to overlook it; I was beyond curious to see how he would progress with a new band behind him, especially one that included his sister as a guitarist. I watched with interest as the crowd funding campaign built up steam for the debut album, “The Man With Stars On His Knees”; indeed I pledged on it and the campaign smashed its target before the deadline date. Now, the day of release is almost here and I’m beyond excited to be able to give you the dirt.

Initial track “Show Me What You’re Made Of” is a short one, just a little taste of what is to come. It’s pretty intense, and ramps up to segue into the first official release, “All The Things You’ve Said and Done”. This is a high energy, banger of a track. It was a pleasant surprise, direction wise, but it’s no less than I would have expected to hear and it was a great idea to put it out well in advance of the full-length album to whet the fans’ appetites.

Track three, “Dancin’ Down Below” is a difficult one. It’s no secret that Queen and Freddie Mercury are big influences for this band and you can certainly hear it with this. That’s not to say that it’s not a great track, but it’s certainly an homage to the Queen sound.

“The Devil That Needs You” is an interesting track with an unusual time signature and different styles running through it, along with Aaron’s trademark throaty roars in the background. I foresee stage diving shenanigans galore during the instrumental section when this goes live; the song is made for it.

Aaron Buchanan and The Cult Classics

Halfway through, “Journey Out Of Here” starts off in an unmistakeably alt-rock way; it’s not my favourite track, but it soars during the chorus and draws to a close with the addition of some nice acoustic guitar and some sweet vocals.

Next, comes the title track, “The Man With Stars On His Knees”, a thoughtful, and rather lovely ballad type of song that is uplifting and sad all at the same time. Once again, the classic influences are present here as it gallops along towards a big finish. “A God Is No Friend” follows; a big, echoing, epic track which is worthy of a film score, showcasing the musical talent in this band, particularly Laurie and Tom’s guitar work.

The boundless energy is back with “Left Me For Dead” and continues with some dirty riffs in the awesome “Mind Of A Mute” This is my absolute favourite, stand out track on the whole album. It’s raunchy, it’s classic, it’s modern, it’s just immense and fabulous. It would be worth buying the album just for this one song – play it loud.

Closing track, “Morals” has some great bass work, some cheeky vocals and overall is a fitting end to this remarkable collection of songs.

Undoubtedly, there are Heaven’s Basement-esque elements to “The Man With Stars On His Knees”, or maybe it’s Buchanan-esque elements; whatever, this is a very good album. It’s full-on, unique and full of massive riffs, manic energy and first class musicianship – it’s on repeat in my house. You can call me biased if you like, but this is a pretty tight and impressive first offering; I predict that AB&TCC will have the stars far below their feet, rather than on their knees.

Catch the guys live at one, or all of the many festivals they’re playing at this year, including Camden Rocks, Ramblin’ Man, Wildfire and also a Sunday slot at Download.

The Cult Classics are:
Vocals: Aaron Buchanan
Guitar: Laurie Buchanan
Guitar: Tom McCarthy
Bass: Chris Guyatt
Drums: Kev Hickman

Track Listing:
Show Me What You’re Made Of
All The Things You’ve Said and Done
Dancin’ Down Below
The Devil That Needs You
Journey Out Of Here
The Man With Stars On His Knees
A God Is No Friend
Left Me For Dead
Mind Of A Mute


Words by Vikkie Richmond (blog | FaceBook | Twitter)

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