Sam Phillips Fan Dance

For her first album of new material in five years, singer/songwriter (and Die Hard With A Vengeance co-star) Sam Phillips has taken yet another step in her evolution. Having already had an earlier career as a Christian singer (under her given name, Leslie), she surfed through a handful of acid pop and loungecraft albums with husband and long-time producer T Bone Burnett. But for Fan Dance, she's eschewed big wet production splashes in favour of a dusty, dry feel and it's a remarkable transformation. Her songwriting hasn't changed - these songs could still certainly be imagined as huge pop arrangements à la 1996's Omnipop (It's Only A Flesh Wound Lambchop). But absent that epic sweep and expensive seeming recording technique, Fan Dance is all songs and no sonic bunkers to hide behind. It's her rawest, most compelling and best stance in years. (Nonesuch)