We know what you’re thinking, “Nobody puts Darcy James Argue in a Hot Box!”
And normally you’d be right, but DownBeat is the exception. The September issue finds Argue’s acclaimed debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), entered into the Thunderdome-like monthly reviews feature called The Hot Box.
Okay, it’s not quite that extreme, as all four CDs that enter usually get to leave as well (often with a limp), but it does involve four critics holding four buzzed-about new records to a higher standard in what might be more accurately compared to a Senate confirmation hearing.
Do 33 year-old steampunk big band leaders have a wiser and more empathetic insight into the major issues of the day? That’s a question for another time, but we can report that our hero fared well.
“With his throbbing beats, drones, brass choirs, space-age eeriness and billowing clouds of sound, Argue is clearly an original,” declared Paul de Barros in one of the capsule reviews.
In the featured review, Jim Macnie wrote, “There’s a critical consensus around this disc, but few pundits are stressing just how gorgeous Argue’s motifs are. Infernal Machines is addictive not only for its architecture, but for its fetching way with color…we’ll be remembering it for quite some time.”