Record of the Week: Rubble: Parts Per Million EP 7"
Rubble: Parts Per Million EP 7” (Distort Reality) I’ve been a huge fan of Portland’s Rubble since I heard their first 7”, and this latest 4-song EP does nothing to diminish my love affair. Rubble is tougher to describe than a lot of bands I hear because (it seems to me, at least) their music is more about songs that style. So many bands put so much of their effort into having the right guitar sound or the right drumbeat or the right vocal inflection (or, worse, the right clothes or haircuts) that the music can seem like an afterthought, phrases with the right vibe strung together rather than a piece of art that’s meant to do something (whether that something is political, aesthetic, or something else). While Rubble’s 1-2-1-2 drumming and double tracked vocals might remind you of Vice Squad, it’s clear they’re not interested in conforming to a generic UK82 aesthetic. The lyrics address topics contemporary to 2020 in a way that feels concrete and thoughtful, and the music always goes somewhere, each song starting in one place and moving somewhere different for a cool bridge or an anthemic guitar solo. The production is equally engaging, but in a different way. The playing is loose and raw, the fidelity is primitive, and the mix is odd, particularly on the two tracks on the b-side, on which the rhythm guitar is nearly inaudible. For me, these idiosyncratic choices only add to the record’s charm. UK82 purists might scoff, but to me Rubble sounds like a great punk band making music for right now.