The Upper Crust, 'Revenge for Imagined Slights' (Camp Street)

Critical Mass
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by Doug Brod

For hard-rock jokers with one very specific gag -- performing as puffy-shirted dandies -- this Boston quartet keeps coming up with great punch lines. On their fifth studio album in 14 years, the humor is mostly broad ("Lackey, bring me bonbons, although I have no appetite," a spurned Lord Bendover laments) and rarely subtle (the sublimely awkward extended intro to "Long Table for Two"). But by expanding their usual arsenal of AC/DC-style stompers and Ramones-y pogos to include funk-metal, opium-den psych, and jammy balladeering, they create songs that -- no joke -- would kick even if they didn't concern pederasty, oenophilia, and the dangers inherent to generations of inbreeding.

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