The New Orleans Upstarts often describe themselves as being on the cusp of some new synthesis of Crescent City styles, but aside from a slightly more soulful cast to their horn section, their first EP is pretty much business as usual—Meters-style funk, a party atmosphere, some swirling organ, genial smartassery, and some white-boy blues vocals to hold it all together.
Which is not to say their relentlessly upbeat take on NOLA party rock isn’t infectious, authentic, or balls-out fun. (“How I can just feel good and not feel sad” is the mental trip of “Ain’t That a Trip.”)
Best of the half-dozen attempts here is “You Don’t Get It,” which sports a hook as fat as the groove, but their determination to take the party to the nth degree keeps everything else sweaty, even when they chill with some lite-jazz moves on “Good Time” or add a Billy Preston Moog into the mix on the closer “Show Time.”
The Upstarts may not be changing the game, but their sheer energy ensures that “More Than a Handful” isn’t… wasted.