Stan Ridgway's Anatomy
Ultramodern/New West #NW6010

Anatomy, Stan Ridgway's fifth solo album, represents a continuation of the trend begun with 1995's Black Diamond, an introspective mood combined with a self-contained personal mythology. The anatomy of the title is his own, that is, an exploration of the buried life in his psyche. There, he finds moments, partial images, broken fragments of scenes that demand explanation, however incomplete. Anatomy contains some outstanding tracks--the haunting "Mission Bell," the country & western ballad "Whistle for Louise," the hard rock gem "Susie Before Sunrise"--but the disc's outstanding track is "Train of Thought," in which the high Romantic strain in his work is beautifully rendered. The real enemy is time, and the fleeting nature of the poetic visitation is reminiscent of Shelley's "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty," or Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale." Where's the music video the song warrants? Time and loss are the themes here, memory the compensation for the loss, which is immense. The disc also contains some live tracks in Liquid Audio that can be downloaded onto your computer's harddrive, plus the internet connection that allows you to download more tracks located at UltraModern's Ridgway website. Perhaps the most interesting live track is "Sixteen Tons," a different version that contrasts with the version on the CD in some interesting ways.

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