For a while Aaron Buchanan and Heaven’s Basement appeared to be the perfect match. The diminutive singer’s devilish attention to detail and intuitive stagecraft gave Britain’s finest hard rockers their best shot at international success. And, for a while, it worked.
But a band renowned for more changes than a set of traffic lights couldn’t hold on to the ace in their pack and Buchanan – like so many before him – bolted. Last year he resurfaced as the face of The Cult Classics and now a debut album has arrived.
It’s immediately obvious that Buchanan has seized the opportunity to strike free and plough a fresh creative furrow. The Man With Stars On His Knees is more post-grunge than party rock and Filthy Empire-era fans of HB might feel robbed.
But judge Buchanan’s solo debut in isolation and it’s an immersive listening experience. There’s energy and introspection, effortless cool and jolting alt rock. TMWSOHK isn’t perfect but that’s part of this brave record’s charm. As far as Buchanan was concerned his ill-fated stint in HB was the end of the beginning, rather than the beginning of the end: at the outset of a brand new journey there’s ample opportunity to take the right path in the wake of these first, confident steps.
It would be easy to read far too much into the thought-provoking triumvirate of Journey Out Of Here, Mind Of A Mute and Morals? but try to resist all that you know about Buchanan’s baggage and enjoy these songs in the moment. This is a fine return to the rock and roll fray.