The double album era is seemingly over (think Pink Floyd, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.), but don’t tell that to Portland, Ore. roots-music band Sassparilla (yes, deliberately misspelled).
For the group’s fifth release, frontman Kevin Blackwell decided to issue two, half-hour records and package them together as Pasajero/Hullabaloo. This is a no-concept project; it's something for long-time listeners.
CD one is a professionally produced studio effort, Pasajero. CD two, Hullabaloo, is looser-sounding; it was taped in Blackwell’s attic space, and captures Sassparilla’s relaxed vibe.
Pasajero twitches with an urban scuffle, spotlighted by soulful horns, sliding guitars, woozy melodies and city-centric grooves. Noteworthy numbers include the slightly swirling, minor-key “Dark Star” (not the Grateful Dead song) and the Doors-like “Peaches.”
Hullabaloo is often saturated by back porch deportment, with acoustic blues, country-sparkled cuts (fan fave “Cocaine”) and the controversial blues-rocker “It Ain’t Easy,” sung in the voice of a weary deity tired of seeing and knowing all.
Pasajero/Hullabaloo releases on Tuesday, June 17, 2014.