Ben Gibbard and Death Cab For Cutie at Red Rocks strikes chord - Reverb

Can’t Hardly Wait: Getting emotional over Ben Gibbard; celebrating his underappreciated “Fast Move”

Ben Gibbard sang and we listened. Red Rocks wasn’t sold out on Tuesday night, but it was fullish, and we hung on every word the Death Cab For Cutie frontman had to say. This isn’t our review of that show (you can read that here). This is merely a short note about the emotional connections we form with people and their voices.

Gibbard’s voice, his love of full-bodied enunciation, does something to me. Loved the Postal Service before I fell for Death Cab, but now I can’t stay away from all of his work. When I heard a few years back that Gibbard was collaborating with Son Volt frontman Jay Farrar on the soundtrack to a documentary about Jack Kerouac, I couldn’t wait to hear the album.

And even though “One Fast Move And I’m Gone” is not a Death Cab record or a Son Volt disc, it’s a beautiful and completely familiar creation. It’s Gibbard’s voice leading us through upbeat numbers like “California Zephyr” (below), and it’s Farrar’s grizzle guiding us through the dirges.

As Gibbard closed last night’s Death Cab set at Red Rocks with the devastating “Transatlanticism,” I was overcome with an assortment of emotions. It’s raw, sure, and that build is incredible. But it’s also a uniquely powerful indie rock moment — a little wimpy, sure, but who can’t relate to that?

It reminded me of the quiet fury and melancholic happiness of “One Fast Move” — and how many fans of Death Cab and Son Volt still have no idea it exists. So this shout-out is for them. If Gibbard’s voice has ever spoken to you. If Farrar’s insight has ever wowed you. Take the time to hear them collaborate with an even more masterful wordsmith. After all, “One Fast Move” is based on Kerouac’s writings — “Big Sur,” to be exact — and if you think their musical builds are potent, dig his prose, man.

Click here to read our interview with Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie.

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Ricardo Baca is the founder and executive editor of Reverb, the co-founder of The UMS and an award-winning critic and journalist at The Denver Post.

  • Fletch

    That is truly a fantastic album. Bummed I missed them at the Boulder Theater when they came through…