The Burning Hour
Caught somewhere between a totally '80s time warp — not just new-wave, either; U2's Joshua Tree also creeps into Test Your Reflex's compositions — and delusions of grandeur that involve David Bowie and Brian Eno, this young SoCal act shoots for the stars, and then some, on its major label debut. No, really. Everything's larger than life on The Burning Hour: the crunchy chords that collide into the choruses of "Pieces of the Sun" and the wailing diva of "…Magazine Cutouts," the syths that glide and gloss over the surface sheen of "Black Hearts" and "New Year," and the plodding, patient wide open spaces of "I'm Not Sorry" and "Painted Red." Considering the reasoning behind the record's title — a strip club visit that reeked of desperation and depression — it's a tad surprising to see so many shades of darkness and light on the entire disc. But it's also refreshing, resulting in a record that's as emotionally-charged as it is engaging.