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Album Review

If Raymond Chandler and Raymond Carver had somehow fused their literary sensibilities and branched out into songwriting, they might have conjured a lyrical voice something like Stan Ridgway's, a man with an uncanny knack for capturing the nooks and crannies of life among the lost and lowly in Los Angeles, telling their stories with genuine understanding but no illusions. Mosquitos was Ridgway's second solo album after leaving Wall of Voodoo, and it was a far grander and more ambitious work than anything he'd made up to that point. Produced by Ridgway and Joe Chiccarelli, Mosquitos has a rich, expansive sound compared to the claustrophobic tension generated by Wall of Voodoo, and in the instrumental fanfare "Heat Takes a Walk," the proto-ska strut of "Calling Out to Carol," the cinematic atmospherics of "A Mission in Life," the woozy horns that weave their way through "The Last Honest Man," and the Norteño-gone-psychedelic arrangement of "Newspapers," this album gave Ridgway a broader and more colorful musical canvas than he'd been able to work with before. At the same time, the rhythms were as edgy and insistent as Wall of Voodoo, and these postcards of lives in the balance had more shadings than his previous work, but their bitter emotional impact was as sharp as ever, from the doomed romantic triangle of "Peg and Pete and Me" and the disillusioned barkeep of "A Mission in Life" to the physically and emotionally broken protagonist of "Can't Complain." Mosquitos may have been a bit too subtle and moody for the audience that discovered Ridgway through Wall of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio," but at its best, this feels like the soundtrack to the best, most harrowing, and most heartbreaking film ever made about Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

This troubador will make you smile and bring you joy!

Who is Stan Ridgeway, er, Ridgway? Many don't know, but they would enjoy his musical offerings. From his Wall of Voodoo beginnings to his solo career, the guy is a uniquely talented indivudal. His songs are stories and they're catchy and fun to listen to. Calling Out to Carol was a Top 40 hit in about 89 or so, but it is clearly bested by Lonely Town, Peg and Pete and Me (cool setup song about a devious wife cheating with Stan) and Mission in Life (oustanding commentary about everyday life and the value of a good bartender)! Of course, the piano dropping in Can't Complain is also quite memorable. I have to agree with the first reviewer, this album has aged extremely well. You won't be disappointed. Maybe this guy is even a bit of an "American Ray Davies", as his stories are superb!

Solid Album from Wall of Voodoo frontman

The album starts with Heat Takes A Walk, an instrumental that sets the gloomy,melodic tone, forshadowing whats to come. From there the album is a whirl wind of slice of life stories and embittered humor.Strong points include Peg and Pete and Me,Calling Out To Carol,Goin' Southbound and the finale A Mission in Life. Buy this album today.

This one has aged nicely

Stan Ridgway, the former Wall of Voodoo frontman, released several solo albums in the late '80s and '90s full of story songs that remind me of Warren Zevon tunes. Mosquitoes is the best of the bunch. The atmospheric first song gives way to songs draped in cynicism that would make Donald Fagan of Steely Dan green with envy. Some tracks are better than others: Essential downloads are "Goin' Southbound," "Can't Complain," "Newspapers," and "Calling Out to Carol."


Born: April 5, 1954 in Barstow, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most unique singer/songwriters in American indie music, with an unforgettable adenoidal vocal delivery that makes him sound like a low-level wise guy in one of those old Warner Bros. gangster films of the '30s and a lyrical obsession with the themes of pulp crime novels and film noir, Stan Ridgway is a true original. From his early days with quirky Los Angeles new wavers Wall of Voodoo to his even more intriguing solo career, Ridgway has created an impressive, if at times somewhat inscrutable...
Full Bio
Mosquitos, Stan Ridgway
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Customer Ratings