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Even if mild-mannered rap rock makes you want to punch yourself in the balls, you gotta admit: Michael Siefert's mix on Vitium's self-titled EP is crisp. The CD is a natural fit for 311 fans, who are growing older and feel like gettin' mellow from time to time. Vitium plays unplugged during the verses, but pumps up the volume on the big jumping-jack choruses. "New World" takes on post-9/11 politics. With steel drums and gooey funk bass, "He Said, She Said" is almost tough-guy rap. And in "Live It," Singer Nicholas Smalc looks for grace and love in a cold world that's filled with lukewarm alt-rock. At least he's trying.

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