White Widow 

Black Heart

I keep saying it: The '90s are back. But the marketing has changed, and that fact may prove to stunt songwriting growth. White Widow (aka Carla Patullo) is a bit Tori Amos and a bit Courtney Love, except that Patullo's being played on soap opera soundtracks. That seems to be the new thing. But, hey, just because this "indie" artist is getting airtime on "The Young and the Restless," should we completely discount her? Maybe.

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On her 2005 debut, No Wood to Knock On, the Widow sounded like a talented Pink knockoff. Five years of heavy use on TV and movie soundtracks later, this singer-songwriter's sound is more subtle and assured, but still highly derivative. The title song on Black Heart is a bit more than glancingly acquainted with Hole's "Doll Parts." Worse, "Warriors" sounds like Pat Benatar singing "Cherokee People," while "Give or Take" is P.J. Harvey singing Bon Jovi. The toned down "I Break" feels genuine and hits all the right notes, but more often this album feels off-kilter. Patullo is a talented singer with a pleasantly jagged instrument, but the whole package fails to convince. She could produce good material, but so far it's all soap opera emotion.

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