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51wWoLsYJKL. SL160 Wind-Up Records is a label responsible for releasing a lot of shit over the course of the past decade. All of the Creed, Scott Stapp, and Alter Bridge albums, along with 12 Stones, Evanescence, and the lackluster soundtracks to DAREDEVIL, ELEKTRA, FANTASTIC 4, etc. were pumped-out by Wind-Up, marketed en masse, and gobbled up by the “Top 40” crowd. To me they were nothing more than the equivalent of emotionless audio diarrhea.
Over the past few months, however, the winds of change at least appear to be blowing through the Wind-Up camp. With recent signings that include two former members of the Victory Records family (HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS and BAYSIDE), and the release of IT’S ALIVE’s HUMAN RESOURCES (out today), there might be a possibility of redemption for the label afterall.

When my digital copy of HUMAN RESOURCES arrived a few weeks back, my initial impression was that they were a metal band, possibly wearing some horror influences on their sleeves. With IT’S ALIVE being the name of a 1974 “evil baby” film, and the first single being “Pieces” (presumably named for the 1982 Spanish slasher), I was way off.

IT’S ALIVE fits firmly into the radio-friendly “modern rock” category, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing – though not necessarily a good thing either. Whether intentional or not, HUMAN RESOURCES sounds much like a rap-less LINKIN PARK. The piano lead on “Back into the Rain” – the electro beats on “Changing Colors” – hell, the electronic intros on damn near every song sound ripped straight from the LP playbook. Oddly, the songwriting is still just strong enough to make the album listenable, all while remaining relatively unremarkable.

There’s a few songs on here that are bound to catapult up the rock charts, and possibly have that “crossover appeal” that labels love (when they can do the “Top 40” KISS FM type thing in addition to the rock markets), such as the aforementioned “Pieces” and “Back into the Rain,” along with a ballad called “Selfless.” I got a weird vibe when listening to this that there was a heavier band somewhere inside there, peeking it’s head out on occasion only to be stifled just as the volume was about to get just a little too loud for the mainstream.

Overall, casual rock fans will probably love this to death, while those that prefer things to be heavier or more original (or hate Linkin Park) will want to skip it altogether. Despite it’s faults, Wind-Up has finally released something that I can listen to in its entirety without wanting to use the disc as a Frisbee. Though in the digital age, the delete button would usually have to suffice.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

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