Frame by Frame
Formerly of Otis and the Shoreway Saints, singer-songwriter Wendy Poltorek has a strong voice that's bound to elicit comparisons to Jewel (before the starlet went country, that is). That's apparent from the opening riffs of "48 Hours," the catchy kick-off track that features a sinewy guitar solo courtesy of multi-instrumentalist Dave Baker. Even though her backing band (which, in addition to Baker, includes bassists Greg Breedlove and Alex MacDonald and drummer Brent Kirby) is terrific at balancing light rock and pop impulses, Poltorek could use some work in the songwriting department. When she starts singing about the "memories dancing in her mind" ("Solitary Cry") and "staring at the TV screen" in the wake of a break-up ("Frame by Frame"), she becomes a bit too touchy-feely, even by sensitive singer-songwriter standards. - Jeff Niesel
Wendy Poltorek performs with Brent Kirby & the Shapeshifters at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 8, at Mulberry's in the Flats (2316 Mulberry Ave., 216.632.0632). Tickets: $5.
It's hard to expect much from a band that claims mixing metal, rap and funk gives it a unique sound. The problem with this "new" metal is that it's already been done a thousand times, and most of the bands doing it sound just like the band that did it before. Third Union's self -titled album features nine predictable tracks that sound like Rage Against the Machine or some other metal crossover band from the '90s. Tracks like "Slit Wrist" aren't lacking heavy guitars but feature predictable lyrics and suggest a lack of originality. - Wes Dodd