SOBBRS’ Fortunato sets a higher bar for Austin pop

 


   
Prolific singer/songwriter Jesus Acosta, aka SOBBRS, released his first full length LP Fortunato on October 7th. Compounding catchy hooks, detailed grooves, and savory synths the record crafts an original pop sound with one foot planted in 80’s throwback and the other stepping forward into the world of modern production. Rewarding repeated listens, Fortunato uses pop music tropes in a very controlled fashion, the key change for the last chorus of “Monsoon” for instance, while having the foresight to subvert those same tropes later. Consistent quality is prevalent but “Cameo”, “Motherlode”, and “Bones” are stand-outs. 

 

    Finding balance is Fortunato’s biggest accomplishment. The instrumentals forge an energy that finds balance in equal parts kinetic spectacle and melancholic meditation, leaving the listener the choice to either dance or cry. Lyrically drawing from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, the reflective words strike equilibrium between adverse themes of isolation and belonging. Even Acosta’s vocal delivery is balanced between rhythmic certainty and an emotive, quivering vibrato. This overall balance displays the benefits in both active and passive listening. 

 

    Upon the record’s release, SOBBRS packed Mohawk, seamlessly guiding the tracks into a live setting. His backing band consists of Springful’s Jim Hampton on guitar and Flora & Fawna’s Mason Ables, who is also responsible for the record’s intricate production, on keys and beats. Although playing the same songs, the group infused new life into them through the performance, teetering the scale towards dance and elation. With a St. Vincent cover, the premiere of a music video for “Crossfire”, and a celebratory onstage cake, it was a wonderful night.

 

-Hayden Steckel