Revenge For Imagined Slights
The Upper Crust, Ltd., 2009
REVIEW BY: Bruce Rusk
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/28/2009
When I first got this disc from the grumpy gnomes at DV Mission Control, I was eagerly amused at the premise. Hailing from Boston, Duc d'Istortion (lead guitar, vocals), Count Bassie (bass guitar, vocals), Jackie Kickassis (drums), and the Lord Bendover (guitar, vocals) make up The Upper Crust, playing punky hard rock dressed up like a bunch of spoiled fops from the 18th century with powdered wigs, aristocratic titles and all.
Musically it’s mainly shades of KISS and AC/DC. Nothing wrong with that, except that the songs get as little repetitious by the end of the disc. They are a solid band within their limited style, but musically it’s a bit one dimensional. The real attraction here is the lyrics, which are the vehicle for the extended gag. When they hit funny, they hit it well. The ode to pederasty “Come Hither, Fair Youth” and “Long Table For Two” (Baby is that you? / Down at the end of that looooong table for two?) both work well. My favorite track is the Ramones knockoff “Rococo” (“I’m not the average Joe / Cause I’m so Rococo”).
I wanted a more consistent level of humor, but it falters a bit. The whole premise of the band is a gag, but the gag falls short too often. In some cases, the shtick doesn’t get past the song title. “Class Up The Ass,” “Chateauneuf-Du-Pop,” and “I Stand Corrected” sounded promising, but fall way short of any real workable humor.
Despite some chuckles, the album on a whole doesn’t have staying power for me past an occasional listen. The buzz on these guys is that the live show is where they really shine. And I can see that potential very clearly. The gags and historical references that pepper the songs are ripe for an extended onstage showery in the vein of Spinal Tap. Based on the press kit provided by their faithful manservant Bumbles, there’s a lot of funny to be mined from this concept. The problem I see with this disc is the personalities behind it don’t jump out at you past the lyrics. That said, I’m making a point of getting to one of their live shows, but the album itself will probably not get too much mileage. This one gets a "C" -- as in, go "C" them in person.