Friday, February 09, 2024

Strutting Onto The Scene in a Rococo Blur: The Last Dinner Party Release Highly Anticipated Debut Album

‘Prelude To Ecstasy’ is a debut album that is exactly as the name suggests- 41 minutes of mighty euphoria; a prologue for what will surely be a flourishing career for Brixton formed indie rock band The Last Dinner Party. 

After forming in 2020 and struggling to rehearse together during COVID-19 lockdowns, the band were eventually able to perform their first show at The George Tavern in 2021, sparking their rising success through word of mouth support and eventually signing with Island Records in 2023.

 However, the release of their first single ‘Nothing Matters’ quickly sparked eye-roll worthy online accusations that the band were “industry plants”- a nebulous concept thrown at often female musicians, whose success is deemed too swift to have been earned organically. It seems as if the internet disparagers are under the illusion that the band had been secretly assembled and introduced to the world by music industry magnates like a corporate Powerpuff Girls parody. 

The Last Dinner Party have confronted all criticisms with Napoleonic verve, and the much anticipated release of their debut album is a shiny medal commemorating their authenticity. The music produced by the London quintet is in harmony with the style and on-stage personality of its members- bouffant ballads and grandiose bridges, adorned with intricate lyrics that ripple with a confidence that will no doubt bleed into anyone listening.

‘Prelude To Ecstasy’ opens with an ornate orchestral overture of the same name; a cinematic instrumental acquainting listeners with the flamboyant world of The Last Dinner Party. Fuelled with melodrama akin to that of Florence Welch, the album soon tumbles into ‘Burn Alive’ a song brimming with arcane imagery, crystal vocals from Abigail Morris and storming drums from guest percussionist Rebekah Rayner

The band played a transcendent gig at London's iconic Roundhouse the night before the album's launch, jokingly declared ‘the unofficial release party’ by Morris on a stage set up to mimic a gothic castle hall. ‘Caesar on a TV Screen’ was a highlight of the night, with bassist Georgia Davies creating a bold foundation, accompanied by lyrics that have the vocalist contemplating life as a man: “When I was a child, I never felt like a child / I felt like an emperor with a city to burn” were the words that riled up the crowd as they echoed Morris’s delivery with anthemic zeal.

‘The Feminine Urge’ explores the constraints of womanhood and passive femininity, whilst elsewhere, ‘Beautiful Boy’ channels further measures of gender fluidity in an angelic composition brimming with ethereal flute from Emily Roberts (lead guitar, mandolin, flute) and inevitably rising to a fierce cacophony.

The classically trained members of the band: Roberts and Aurora Nishevci (keys, vocals), get to showcase their talents within the ghostly refrain ‘Gjuha’ and piano-led ‘Portrait of a Dead Girl’, whilst Abigail Morris’ voice in ‘Mirror’ holds echoes of Kate Bush with a punchy flair of Alison Mosshart on the side.

‘Nothing Matters’ was the first and most authoritative single to be released by the band, amassing over 28 million streams in under a year, followed by ‘Sinner’‘My Lady of Mercy’‘On Your Side’ and ‘Caesar on a TV Screen’, which together were compelling enough to earn The Last Dinner Party a Brits Rising Star Award, and The BBC Sound of 2024 poll.

The Last Dinner Party have stormed on to the stage with a corseted flourish and no plans to leave, and if this album is just the ‘Prelude’, we’re already impatient to see how their story may develop.

Tallulah Fox

Image: ‘Prelude To Ecstasy’ Official Album Cover


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