Rubella Ballet - Rich with Our Money [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Rubella Ballet

Rich with Our Money [EP] (2023)

Rotator Vinyl

The wonderful thing about Rubella Ballet is that they have always embraced Anarcho-punk hallmarks as much as they toss them aside. When everyone was scowling and wearing all black. RB put on bright neon and painted their faces day-glo. When all the anarcho-punkers were purposefully trying to be as discordant as possible, following in the footsteps of Yes Sir, I will, RB made purposefully poppy tracks. But, despite the band’s disregard for the “rules” of anarcho-punk (which is am oxymoron in of itself), for some reason the band has stood the test of time as one of the most radical, most political of all the anarcho-crew. In part, it’s probably due to their lyrics which, when removed from the actual sound of the band, share a fair amount of ground with Crass and Poison Girls. But, it’s also because they kind of do whatever they want. And, on their third release since reforming, the band again does whatever they want while keeping the book anchored to anarcho-punk ideals.

A heavy industrial sound is tied into Rich with Our Money. On tracks like “Kingdom” and “She rocks punk,” the band locks a low, lumbering cranking guitar into a programmed massive, synth-drum. Zillah Minx calls out over the top, with her vocals processed more often than not. It’s a experiment for the band as they take to the style quite naturally. These tracks could easily pass for tracks by any of the other bigger modern industrial bands today. That being said, while these tracks are big, bold and scary- Zillah works particularly well as a chaos-witch howling over the machinery- some of the band’s weirdness and whimsy is lost in being chained to the mechanical beat- the main exception of course, is the title track with samples “do they owe us a living” and has a call out that pays homage to C C Music Factory- oh yes, that’s right.

Not all the tracks go for the modern-mechanical-move, though. “Dressed to Kill” is more organic and walks that fantastic RB line between Spiderleg charge and Go-gos bounce. “Now it’s all over” is more of standard anarcho-speed blast. Both of these songs show how great the band is at taking a pop-sensibility and making it seem dangerous… and fun. Few bands have this confidence and skill and Rb certainly did and still does.

RB is always moving in different and unexpected directions. Rich with Our Money surprised me as modern industrial is not where I thought RB was going to go next. The band is always keeping us on our toes, and that’s pretty much what the top tier anarcho bands always do.