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The dreaded moment has arrived: The second Upper Crust album is here. The Boston quintet’s ’95 debut, Let Them Eat Rock, was a glorious nose-thumbing at the obligation to be up-to-date, but the group itself was a novelty act, and novelty acts don’t need second albums. Leaders Nat Freedberg and Ted Widmer had found a way to justify their desire to play reactionary ’70s-style hard rock by casting the entire project as a parody of reactionariness: dressing up as 18th-century aristocrats, adopting the names Lord Bendover and Lord Rockingham, and writing songs like “Rock ‘n’ Roll Butler” and “Little Lord Fauntleroy” that crossed the libidinousness of AC/DC with that of the Marquis de Sade. The result was liberating, because apart from its comic value it really, joyfully rocked. But although Let Them Eat Rock said all the Crust had to say, The Decline and Fall of the Upper Crust isn’t the embarrassment it might have been. The group has stayed true to its concept, and while some of the new songs are strained exercises in ancien régime metal (“Boudoir,” “Versailles,” “Gold Plated Radio”), a couple do come to life: “Rabble Rouser” and “Vulgar Tongue” exhibit the élan that infused the first disc, successfully blending the band’s sociohistorical conceit with its musical forebears’ puerile raunch. And lead guitarist the Duc D’Istortion’s lead-vocal debut “Highfalutin’” is deliriously primitive even by the Crust’s lofty standards. Allegedly, there will not be a third installment, so we can be content that the Crusties quit before they wore out their concept. Après eux le déluge.—James Lochart