Martinis & Bikinis

An Album By

Sam Phillips

Review by

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Posing on your album cover with three guys under your bed while you look like you’re recovering from a big ol’ “O” is a sure way to signal you’re over wanting whatever support you had from the Evangelical market that once supported your artistry. At least one Christian pop FM open-minded enough to have played Collective Soul 18 years ago when formerly Leslie now Sam Phillips unleashed Martinis & Bikinis and for the reason encapsulated in the previous sentence. That’s understandable and probably how La Sam preferred the situation pan out as she sought space away from the shadows of the previous career arc that kept dogging her since The Turning, at least. This reissue proves it’s still the largely dark and quizzical work of a woman whose commercial and spiritual crossroads intersected in such a way to birth some of her most compelling, if not most encouraging, songs. What could have ended up a ponderous wail of angst was, thankfully, abetted by her then-husband T Bone Burnett’s framing of his muse/wife’s songs in settings that find the sweet spot between power pop, Americana and psychedelia. Masterful stuff all around from all parties concerned, but M’s & B’s is likely best reserved for the occasional dark night of your soul, of which it’s my hope you don’t have nearly as many as Phillips seems to have.

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