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Pain Reliever 

by RACHEL SIEMENS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & O & lt;/span & oh, aah, ooh, and so it goes... At first glance My Anodyne (Chris Rozwod) appears to be just another alterna-kid. You know the kind: hip acoustic guitar, a lot of ooh's and aah's, chicly beat-up Chuck Taylor's adorning his feet. The definition of an angst-centered self. Your basic tight-teed, bellyache-voiced kid just trying to "express himself". Even his band name takes on that particular brand of pretension ("anodyne" means a medicine that relieves pain), a sense of exaggerated importance given to self-expression for self-expression's sake. So that's the first glance. If one digs deeper, though, say listening to an entire song (they do last longer than 18 seconds), you'll find more nuance, along with some provocative, refreshing lyrics and compositions.

His music is early millennial emo and recent Plain White T's, a blend my good friend Joey likes to call "nice guy emo." Not angry or electric enough to be considered hard core, though not sappy enough either to become a succession of whiney lovesick ballads, Rozwod treads a middle ground, right down to the nasally, faux-British tinge to his voice (a favorite among punk's various descendants worldwide) that situates him in time, space and genre without falling overboard into self-mockery. While he does occasionally go straight-ahead, treading a path too-often taken (emo), there's enough hope to amount to nothing more than a single tear being shed. Sure, the lyrics from "Meant to Lose" ("This is where you give up / This is where you lose control / It's clear that you meant to lose"), represent a strength-through-adversity pose that's just as showy as sorrow to the point of suicide, but at least it's a different spectacle. Thank God, too, the whole wrist-slitting scene was becoming such a bore.

Of course, we wouldn't be having this discussion if Rozwod weren't a talented artist. His latest EP, The Inside, demonstrates that talent in five tracks of breathy, sprightly sad pop. "Meant to Lose" contains a killer hook and "Eyes Ahead" is a fairly well written treatise on giving up. The song "Showers" dabbles in electronica, Rozwod's voice fazing out in the last measure in that sort of up/down, robotic, hard-to-notate style so popular in the mid-1990s.

If you're looking for a little musical medicine to help heal a couple of sad pop inflicted wounds -- and really, who isn't -- a few teaspoons of My Anodyne might be enough to cure what slits you.

My Anodyne with Kristen Marlo and Isenheart at Leonardo's Coffee on Saturday, May 12 at 7 pm. $5. Call 464-4888.
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