Hot Looks for Summer
Whereas Santa Barbara-based band Duplex's eponymously-titled first release was primarily a solo vehicle for singer/songwriter/guitarist Jeff Sparks, Hot Looks For Summer is the work of a full-fledged band, including material written and sung by bassist Jason Bays and outstanding, intricate guitar lines courtesy of lead guitarist/songwriter Rob Taylor. Drumming duties are provided once again by the prodigious Randy Guss, long-time drummer for Toad the Wet Sprocket. Hot Looks opens with 'Agent of Deliverance,' a Sparks tune that conjures Guided by Voices' Robert Pollard channeling Pete Townsend in a melancholy mood; and ends with 'Helen Douglas,' Bays' haunting, stream-of-consciousness tribute to the woman who ran against Richard Nixon in his 1950 bid for the Senate. In between, lyrically, the songs deal with everything from betrayal ('Rope') to celebrity suicide ('Suicide Moon'), to post-breakup yard sales ('On the Lawn'). Sparks' music has been licensed for film (Drop Dead Gorgeous, Christmas with the Kranks) and TV (The Real World, Road Rules.) He is a former member of the band Primitive Radio Gods, whose first album, Rocket, went gold while the band was with Columbia Records. The band's sophomore release, White Hot Peach, on What Are Records? was hailed by PopMatters as 'one of those rare recordings that is not only great, but is nearly essential.' Duplex 's influences include The Beatles, Big Star, ELO, Elliot Smith, Fountains of Wayne, Granddaddy, The Kinks, The Modern Lovers, The Pretenders, The Replacements, and Neil Young. Welcome to the PLEX.