Release Date: 26th May 2017
Having seen Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics live supporting InMe, at Brain Freeze Festival and their own headline slot for Independent Venue Week, it was obvious that a record from them was going to be more than a little bit special, as all the songs had a quality about them that not only were instantly likeable but also left you in awe and desperate to hear more. So even after just one listen of their debut, this is already the best album of 2017. A bold statement to make so early on in the year but this sums up just how outstanding the album is.
Opening with a short introduction and the futuristic sounding drum beat pounding fiercely behind the unleashed vocals, ‘Show Me What You’re Made Of’ proclaims to the world that Aaron Buchanan, former frontman of Heaven’s Basement is back and on his own terms.
Not that this is a solo effort, The Cult Classics are very much at the heart of this album with the exceptional guitar skills and vocals of sister Laurie, showing us musical talent is abundant in the Buchanan household and for the recording of the album, James Curtis-Thomas (who also produced the album at Essex Recording Studio) providing the intricate drum patterns, Ryan Woods contributing to the filthy basslines along with additional guitars, bass and drums from Aaron himself.
‘All The Things You’ve Said And Done’ bursts into life, delivering a masterclass in hard rock and it is easy to see why this was chosen as the first single. Catchy, upbeat but with an underlying current of raw power, it sets the momentum for the rest of album as it continues with ‘Dancin’ Down Below’ which powers through at a million miles an hour in a pure rush of adrenaline.
Just when you have settled into the hard rock vibe, the album turns itself on its head and produces a mixture of Latin inspired grunge with ‘The Devil That Needs You’. Yeah on paper that looks a bit odd but that is the beauty of this album, Aaron and his band take an entire range of genres, pays homage to the classic styles but produces a mixture of sounds that totally work, which is inspired and refreshing to hear.
‘Journey Out Of Here’ is that lighters in the air moment and here his range of vocal ability is apparent as it rises through the scales. Big production with some mournful guitar, this is a little nod to those power ballads we all have a bit of a guilty pleasure for. Title track ‘The Man With Stars On His Knees’ screams anthem at you with the massive chorus, whilst the dual guitars not only have a touch of Queen about them but also evoke the brilliance of Thin Lizzy. This is classic rock at its finest and reminds you of the legendary vocal style of Freddie Mercury, which few can match but Aaron switches through the vocal changes effortlessly, much like the great man himself.
A flirtation with grunge again on ‘A God Is No Friend’ draws the album back into a heavier tone, and here the rhythm picks up in the album as the sound grows darker, keeping you in anticipation of what the next track will sound like as each one has been different so far. ‘Left Me For Dead’ draws you into even deeper tones, before a filthy monster of a song ‘Mind Of A Mute’ unleashes the mother of all riffs. Imposing, brooding, powerful, it brings you over into the dark side and is the right side of heavy.
The final track of the album sends chills down your spine, gives you goosebumps and raises hairs you didn’t even know you had all at the same time with the sheer power of the vocal delivery. If ever there was a killer track to end any album it is ‘Morals’, as the vocals soar over the delicious musical genius of the instruments. Aaron sings on this track that he is a “devil in disguise” and I would have willingly sold my soul to him from the very first listen.
Every once in a while an album is released that leaves you stunned with just how incredible every song is and ‘The Man With Stars On His Knees’ is one of THOSE albums. Each track is an emotional journey, a mardi gras soundscape of gigantic proportions, musically superb and vocally off the scale.
An empyrean collection of songs that you will never grow tired of – Aaron Buchanan and The Cult Classics are the new saviours of rock and roll with this flawless debut album.
The album is available to pre-order via PledgeMusic: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/aaronbuchananandthecultclassics
It is also worth getting the single of ‘All The Things You’ve Said And Done’ for the brilliant track ‘Fire In The Fields Of Mayhem’ not released on the album.
‘The Man With Stars On His Knees’ 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
Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics is: