Band: Castrovalva Label: Brew Records Website: Castrovalva Myspace It’s been a while since I listened to a band that wore its influences on its sleeves so obviously as Castrovalva. Being a two piece consisting of a bass player and a drummer I’m sure that you can already guess as to at least one of those influences. Starting rather promisingly with opener Max Rhodes this mini-album sets its stall out from the beginning. Frenetic drum attacks coupled with bowel shaking speed bass playing. As this song throbs into being I was initially impressed as they didn’t seem to be taking the route I had expected, that was until We Don’t Go To Ravenholm, a title with a geeky nod towards the game Half-Life 2. If I were to describe this song, which I have to, I’d say it was like a younger brother borrowing his older siblings leather jacket in the hope that it’ll make him look as ‘cool’ as the man he looks up to. It looks OK but it doesn’t quite do the job. Where Lightning Bolt, whoever guessed this pat yourself on the back, aren’t afraid to go balls to the wall in their sonic attacks Castrovalva soft pedal it a little too much, never really kicking things into high gear which is a little disappointing, if you’re going to emulate the most ‘famous’ noisy drum and bass duo then at least try and turn it up a notch. I’m afraid to say that the influence doesn’t stop there. There are a couple of other drum/bass combo’s that also get ‘borrowed’ from. Bellhausen adds vocals to slowed down, sludged up bass lines and don’t you just know it it’s like listening to Big Business if Coady had been sucking on helium before he started singing. They try and do something a little different with London Kills Me, a mid-way point interlude of dreamy organ playing with delay layered over the top of it. However the good will that they’d managed to achieve with this slight curveball is all but used up as soon as Triceratops, the album closer and no doubt possible future single, kicks in. Put your hands up if you know a band who has a bassist, a drummer and play heavy rock that not only makes you want to pump your fist in the air but will also get your dancing shoes fired up? If you answered Death From Above 1979 then you can have a gold star. That’s right, the closing track sounds just like anything from You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine only, you know, not quite as good. It’s rare that I would take apart a band like this but I found them to be really disappointing. They’re both obviously talented lads I have nothing bad to say on that score. It’s just that when I was listening to this mini-album I couldn’t help but wish that instead I were listening to any of the aforementioned bands. It’s fine to have influences, show me one band that doesn’t, but there’s a fine line between being ‘influenced by’ and ‘ripping off’ and I’m sorry to say that Castrovalva are easily on the side of the latter.