Release date: 02/11/09 Website: http://www.myspace.com/castrovalvamusic Thug Life is the new single by Leeds-based musicians Castrovalva: It's got energy, it's got enthusiasm, it's got 'tude and it's got a 33-second intro that is about, oh, 30 seconds too long. And it should have something else. It should have a soul but, uh-huh, that's not in the house today. Thug Life also has a huge amount of anarchic, hi-voltage rock-power going for it, but there's no finesse here. OK, we all need to have a little hammer-and-chisel action now and then, but how about bringing to the forefront some of that good quality music I can hear tucked away deep in the depths of Thug Life? The start is just a massive disappointment, but the piece picks up and really goes when Castrovalva get off the Dr Dre/Eminem train and suddenly realise they're making a single for people to listen to in their own homes. The riffs are phat and good but the band has mangled the production to hell; should listeners really have to work that hard to get the goodness out of the mix of mayhem? This has to be Marmite for your ears. You're either going to love it or hate it, there's no middle ground here and that's pretty much the style of Catrovalva - they're not looking to take any prisoners. Thug Life is gig-fest hardcore, the bass is almost as percussive as the drums and that's got to be awesomely great on stage, but as a single? Nah. Rating: 2/10