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Roll Acosta : This Dreamt Existence (Self-released) 

Having honed the band's acoustic pop sound on two EPs, Tucson's Roll Acosta delivers a well-executed debut record, with 10 catchy, sweeping songs built from moments of rising and falling drama.

Singer/guitarist Jacob Acosta, violinist/mandolinist Kevin Frederick and drummer André Gressieux turned to indie-pop wizard John Vanderslice for recording and production.

The songs on This Dreamt Existence are bright and dynamic, with memorable hooks built into shifts in instrumentation and tone. Vanderslice's production puts focus on the songcraft and arrangements, setting each tune up like a story, with moments of quiet and moments of action.

"Actions Speak Louder," a six-minute tale of love in action, builds and builds, piling first mandolin and then bass onto a brightly strummed acoustic guitar riff. Acosta's vocals are the draw for the first verse, bittersweet and vulnerable. Then the drums lift the song to a higher level, which Acosta matches with a soaring melody: "Believe in me / I'll show you what I mean."

"The Deep" begins with an insistent drumbeat and a burst of mandolin, and then Acosta's vocals kick in, full of an excited yearning that grips the listener tightly as he rushes along with the chorus of, "Take me into the deep, and we'll cast away these broken dreams."

This Dreamt Existence is an impressive example of a band reaching big and succeeding.

More by Eric Swedlund

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