By Chris Willman
October 30, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

Take It to the Limit


Remember when hard-rock albums felt reckless, not like the results of market research? In the age of Hinder and Nickelback, it’s tough. These bands strain to please two demographics at once: teen boys, who presumably want to be pummeled with aspirational odes to cheap sex, and those boys’ girlfriends, the sure target for contradictorily sweet (but still loud) ballads about devotion and wistful farewells.

Any couples who buy Hinder’s Take It to the Limit may end up slamming separate halves into their iPods. Lads, you’ll want tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7, raunchy, alcohol-fueled stomps that promise to keep hotties ”up all night/Doing things your dad won’t like!” Ladies, prepare to download songs 3, 5, 8, 10, and 11, and sigh along with sentiments like ”I hope most of you will never know what it’s like to let a love go.”

We’d be remiss in not pointing out that these Oklahomans are doing an effective job of learning how to work a key change or soaring pop-metal hook, and that frontman Austin Winkler’s randy, unemotional rasp has a certain proficient appeal. So if you were ever young and in love, dumb with drink, and had a head swimming with not just Boone’s Farm wine but also Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, and AC/ DC (to name these guys’ most blatant anthemic influences), you may be willing to forgive Hinder’s lack of originality and preponderance of madonna/whore issues. If only the whiplash they induce resulted from real headbanging, not from trying to follow Hinder’s song-to-song indecision about whether to be studs or wimps. C+

DOWNLOAD THIS: Listen to tracks fromTake It to the Limit on the band’s MySpace page

Take It to the Limit

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