Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics - The Man With Stars On... album review

Heaven’s Basement singer’s swaggering solo return.

Aaron Buchanan

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“I don’t believe I could have written something like this,” Aaron Buchanan states, “without having been beaten to an absolute pulp.”

After four years in British hard rock nearly men Heaven’s Basement, bad choices, bad company, self-doubt and a search for direction are the themes of this redemptive return.

The 26-year-old has been through the emotional wringer, but his response is to come back fighting. He’s helped by a new band playing lean, hard, melodic grunge, while incorporating glam’s brighter swagger. The title track’s guitar solo especially bows down to Brian May, with harmonies that let the sunlight into an otherwise thunderous record.

With brother Laurie Buchanan on lead guitar, the Cult Classics are a loyal gang, protecting their leader as he wrestles with Satan on The Devil That Needs You, with its chittering, Lord Of The Flies guitars.

An unnamed closing track looks back to childhood days, when ‘my momma said I was going to be a star’. By this time, Buchanan is back on his feet, and swinging again for the heavens.

Nick Hasted

Nick Hasted writes about film, music, books and comics for Classic Rock, The Independent, Uncut, Jazzwise and The Arts Desk. He has published three books: The Dark Story of Eminem (2002), You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks (2011), and Jack White: How He Built An Empire From The Blues (2016).