The Upper Crust

Rock
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Editorial Review

THE UPPER CRUST
CD Review: "Revenge for Imagined Slights"

When the bewigged Upper Crust debuted 15 years ago, its act was doubly anachronistic; a rock band whose members dressed like 18th-century dandies recalled not only the 1750s, but also the 1960s. That's when groups such as Paul Revere and the Raiders capitalized on the "British invasion" by donning faux-Colonial togs. On "Revenge for Imagined Slights," the Boston quartet continues its historical pretense. But the Crust's true period is the early '70s, whose bad-boy party rock remains the band's musical model.

In the download era, the Upper Crust's pose seems largely irrelevant. On an MP3 player, no one can tell you're wearing breeches and ruffled shirts. But the four musicians aren't about to surrender their spats. Such new song titles as "Coachman Ride On" and "Come Hither Fair Youth" uphold the band's image, even while sounding like '70s arena-rock. Even "Wine, Women and Song," a midtempo rocker that would slip easily between AC/DC and Faces covers in any bar-band's repertoire, has a cast of characters that includes "the duke and the duchess and the grand vizier."

But sticky melodies and sharp arrangements elevate the best of "Revenge" above the band's tattered shtick, and reveal a band that would be entertaining even in its street clothes.

-- Mark Jenkins, Weekend (Jan. 2010)