Note: This review originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer in 1991.
On her second CD, Cruel Inventions, Sam Phillips offers more of the introspective lyrics and clever wordplay that made her debut, The Indescribable Wow, so enjoyable. Plus, this time out she seems more confident, while gliding through a collection of highly polished arrangements. Although Phillips seems more comfortable recording ballads, (judging from the number of them on her first two releases,) it’s the energetic material that really stands out.
“Now I Can’t Find The Door” gallops along to an irresistible beat, and “Standing Still” has the immediately impact of a hit single, much in the same way “Holding On To The Earth” did on her debut. For “Lying,” Phillips employs a gravelly voice while running through a list of false statements like, “If I said the way he looks at me doesn’t make me want to undress.” She augments her slower tracks with intriguing arrangements, particularly on the haunting “Tripping Over Gravity” or the gorgeous “Where The Colors Don’t Go.”