One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Son Volt's Jay Farrar and Death Cab For Cutie's Benjamin Gibbard helped write songs for a documentary about Jack Kerouac in 2007. This album is a further expansion of the project.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Rather than adapting Kerouac's writing into the usual frantic jazz inflections, Farrar lifts lines into rootsy blues and Americana shades, surfacing the author's uniquely skewed and stunning phrases.
  2. If anything, Gibbard sounds far too earthbound. Thematically, though, this combination makes a weird kind of sense.
  3. Under The Radar
    This could of been a disaster, but both artists smartly stayed within their musical comfort zones, and their voicesa and styles blend remarkably well. [Fall 2009, p.58]
  4. One Fast Move or I'm Gone might have evoked Jack Kerouac more vividly with other vocalists besides Farrar, but as a composer and producer, he's done right by his lyricist, and the results are modest but rewarding.
  5. Taken in isolation and away from their intended meaning, most every song on the album sounds like a Grade A piece of Americana, but it’s almost impossible to distance these songs from their whole, and it would be disrespectful to both Farrar and Gibbard to do so, which in turns makes the album more of a nice attempt to pay respect to Kerouac from two fan boys than a legitimate tribute to one of America’s most famous and influential writers.
  6. The lyrics, built from Kerouac's prose, often feel wordy. But the singers channel Kerouac's angst, and when they combine their magnificent voices, as on 'Sea Engines,' the effect is striking: ugliness spun magically into beauty.
  7. For an album about a doc about a book about going into the wilds of California, One Fast Move sounds awfully sleepy.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Mar 30, 2012
    It's hard to imagine why artist's open themselves up to such challenging material. So often, musicians fail to satisfy passionate followersIt's hard to imagine why artist's open themselves up to such challenging material. So often, musicians fail to satisfy passionate followers of a writer such as Kerouac but Farrar and Gibbard bravely tread into the fray. The subsequent product is astoundingly faithful to the spirit and writing of Kerouac while producing some fine music along the way. There is not one weak song on this album. Standout tracks include "California Zephyr", "Big Sur", "One Fast Move or I'm Gone", "Williamine" and "San Francisco". This was a serious endeavor that resulted in some masterful music. Expand