In 2009, as the first wave of global economic crisis loomed and fears grew that Russia’s decade of oil-boom prosperity was in danger of busting fast and hard, Sergei Shnurov announced that he was mothballing his long-established and hugely popular ska-funk act Leningrad and creating a new band. That act, Rubl, proved to be a stripped down alt-rock ensemble with bluesy overtones. Shnurov promised lyrics appropriate to a new age of economic uncertainty and before long delivered an album – “Sdacha ne Nado” (Keep the change). Unfortunately the much-anticipated disc failed to live up to expectations. Musically unimaginative, its darker sound did little to enthuse fans of Leningrad’s reckless party attitudes, while a dense, guitar-heavy mix made it difficult to follow whatever Shnur wanted to tell us about the new Russia. While the album makes an interesting curio, it was perhaps unsurprising that it took a matter of months before Leningrad was back, and Rubl quietly sidelined.