If you’re not listening carefully enough, it might seem like the guys from Allele are just recycling the ashes of late ‘90s nü-metal: soaring choruses, down-tuned, overdriven guitars and introspective lyrics sung melodically. But underneath the obvious, there’s a layer of subtle innovation that lends an undeniable legitimacy to the music of vocalist, Wally Wood, guitarists Lane Maverick (formerly of Otep) and Kelly Hayes (formerly of Cold), bassist Tim Tobin, and drummer Giancarlo Autenzio.



In fact, when you first listen to the band’s debut album, Point of Origin, you’ll notice a few things. First, the guitars are more present than you’re probably used to and Wood’s positive lyrical spins counterbalance expectations of depressed subject matter typical of the genre.



Now, after crummy childhoods, lineup changes and breezing into a deal with indie label Corporate Punishment, the guys from Allele are ready to showcase their wares on their first headlining tour and are taking with them a modesty that seems to be rare in their business.



"We don’t have any rock stars in the band … [and] we’re not out to innovate anything, but if it happens, it happens … our goal is to get out there and tour and do 300 shows a year, meet as many people as we can," Wood explains.



They seem to be on the right path. With their first single, "Closer to Habit," lighting up request lines at radio stations around the country, and having just finished playing PlanetFest 6 with P.O.D., Cold and Nonpoint in their hometown of Jacksonville, word is starting to spread like cancer about Allele.



But just what does the word Allele mean anyway? One member of a pair of genes – if you stick to the scientific definition. But according to Wood, to the band it’s more communal.



"My wife came up with the name, she’s a biology teacher … it had a real good, relative meaning that could translate into a social manner, so we want to be a part of everyone’s lives and it was kind of the perfect name."



The band’s collective attitude carries into its own realm as well and helps shape its writing process. "We call it an equal completion process … we never write everything. We bring an idea and everyone just says, hey, will this sound good to it? Me and Lane present the ideas but everyone finishes writing the songs."



Perhaps the most notable feature of the end result of the writing process is Wood’s lyrical subject matter, "the songs aren’t about depressing crap … [people] think I’m some kind of Aaron Lewis (of Staind) depressed kind, but I’m not. If you listen to every song, there’s a twist inside of it that’s about finding the better outcome of things. That’s a very important message that I like to get to people."



And people seem to be listening. "We get like 70 people every few days emailing us on our website and I’ll take the time to respond to each one of them because if you don’t listen and take people for granted, then you’re really living in ignorance if you want to be a musician."



Musicians they are and as they set out for their headlining tour, the members of Allele have set a worthy goal for themselves, "we don’t need to be packing arenas or anything like that … we’re one day at a time, we just want to get out there and tour." When they do, put your assumptions aside and just give a listen because that’s all Allele would ask of you.



Point of Origin is currently available. Allele will be performing at the Whisky on Feb. 13. For more information, visit www.allelemusic.com.