Test Your Reflex
Test Your Reflex
After many months of searching they finally found guitarist RC, a former guitarist of local thrashy hardcore band R.O.H. Then came keyboardist Andrew Ampaya, a classically trained piano virtuoso whose influences meshed with their own. With innovative and like-minded bassist Agustin Sanchez joining shortly thereafter, the first and final line up of Test Your Reflex was cemented. Heres where things start moving fast. After being together for just several months, the word of their talent spread very quickly with one industry enthusiast even wanting to sign them to a management deal based on his immediate belief in their talent.
The only catch was that since Cortez was seventeen, the group had to wait until he was legal to sign the necessary paperwork. It was like needing a hall pass or permission slip to play music, he jokes. A fitting metaphor for someone just out of high school. Within four months of forming, Test Your Reflex performed their first show at the only place in town that would allow them to play since they were all under 21 and one that would become, as Ampaya kids, their own CBGBs but without the booze and the vibe, --- the Thousand Oaks Teen Center. In the following months, friends, friends of friends, girlfriends and former chem lab partners came out to the Center and danced their asses off to the groups highly combustible songs. The Center was the real birthplace of the band, adds Levine.
A few of us had been rehearsing in the practice rooms there with other bands since we were 12, so when everyone starting come out to see us, it was like a homecoming the spark that really drove us. After winning over even the most jaded of crowds in Hollywood and continually selling out and tearing the roof off of the Teen Center, Test Your Reflex headed to a boutique North Hollywood studio in January of 2006 to begin work on The Burning Hour. Intent on capturing the full spectrum of their electric sound, the group spent many months perfecting their craft and making sure every melody, hook and beat was just so. It was very important to us to write a complete and developed album, says Levine. We wanted the ballads to co-exist alongside songs that were more electronic and others that were full-on rock.
We had so many songs already written that it was about choosing the ones that were most real to us and not over-thinking anything. What resulted after all was said and done was a pure distillation of Test Your Reflex's frenetic energy and raw yet tuneful sensibilities into eleven tracks that are as diverse and unpretentious as they are catchy. From the dreamy opener Im Not Sorry to the anthemic I Am Alive, and the impossibly infectious first single Pieces of the Sun, The Burning Hour is a sublime synthesis of the accessible with the unexpected. All eleven tracks cleverly showcase the depth of this record on which every song will be someones favorite. Its an album for anyone looking to escape from sadness, boredom or the everyday and step into a danceable, hum-able, heartfelt daydream. Its the pop life seen through new eyes.
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