In a modern era where it seems many major record labels are putting out music that is mundane and generic, from a barren landscape blooms a Middlemist Red flower going by the name of The Last Dinner Party.
An extremely fresh band, England’s The Last Dinner Party came together back in 2021 when the members were starting out at a university in London. Looking to find a creative outlet for their musical inclinations, they soon came together, and at the time, calling themselves The Dinner Party. Together, Abigail Morris (vocals), Lizzie Mayland (vocals, guitar), Emily Roberts (lead guitar, mandolin, flute), Georgia Davies (bass), and Aurora Nishevci (keys, vocals) made up a five-piece band that were clearly cut from a different fabric then others on the modern music scene. Proving this, after just a year of playing together, they were opening for The Rolling Stones in London’s historical Hyde Park; and soon signing on with Island Records.
A rather rapid rise for such a young band, again, it stands to reason, because The Last Dinner Party clearly has something special. Deriving influence from a broad range of elements that you could debate include David Bowie, Queen, or even Siouxsie and the Banshees, there is no arguing that there is an experimental approach to their sound. Something that lies somewhere between Experimental Alternative Rock and Art Rock (perhaps in the vein of Roxy Music), The Last Dinner Party seem comfortable in their own skin and seem unreserved within their unique approach.
Now, dubbing an act unique is sometimes overused and cliched, however, in the case of The Last Dinner Party it is amply accurate. They wasted no time showcasing how eccentric their artistic vision really is with the release of their debut single “Nothing Matters” in April of 2023. A song that immediately grabs your attention, it is exceptionally grand, theatrical in nature, and a perfect blend of Rock and Pop. A bold initial impression, they then followed up with the equally engaging singles “Sinner” (in June of 2023) and “My Lady of Mercy” (in October of 2023).
Each carefully put out into the stratosphere, they immediately picked up traction among listeners, consciously or unconsciously, seeking for something different. In fact, by October of 2023 The Last Dinner Party was already embarking on a sold-out tour of the US in cities including Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago! So, it is not an exaggeration to say the buzz sounding The Last Dinner Party is quite tangible as many prepare for the release of their debut full-length studio album Prelude to Ecstasy.
Set for release on Friday, February 2, 2024 through Island Records, the album contains each of the aforementioned singles, as well as subsequent ones including “On Your Side” (put out in November of 2023) and “Caesar on a TV Screen” (from January of 2024). Making up five tracks in total which have already earned millions upon millions of streams, Prelude to Ecstasy offers seven more musical odysseys to eager listeners. With this, it should be stated once more that The Last Dinner Party does a fine job of steering clear of any modern trends; because the album is most certainly a cohesive piece of work and not just single-serving tracks for a short-attention spanned consumer. This means the song order (1 through 12) is deliberate, the mood evenly flowing, and artistic intent concise.
Elaborating more on these observations, The Last Dinner Party strikes the balance between creating something that is much more than skin deep, but also not too avant-garde that it would be lost in translation. Extremely challenging to do for even a veteran band, it is highly impressive that as young songwriters they have such a keen sense of how to present their music in the best way possible. In enough words, the music is extremely personal and revealing, but at the same time, not too heady or quirky.
This in mind, the songs that make up Prelude to Ecstasy are emotionally exhilarating even to an outsider looking in. It is evident that the themes behind each track are intimately singular to The Last Dinner Party’s own inner thoughts… so much so you feel as if you are invited to finger through the pages of their own personal journals. Now, this does not mean the lyrics are grotesque, but they are something that you feel cut you deeply. This explained, while the words may seem confidential to The Last Dinner Party alone, there is a longing that anyone with a human soul can connect with here.
In-all, there is so much to adore about Prelude to Ecstasy. Of course, the five preceding singles were lovely, but you will find even more to enjoy amidst the remainder of the album; and this includes “Burn Alive,” “Feminine Urge,” as well as “Beautiful Boy.” In times where many would argue Pop music has become depthless, The Last Dinner Party gives us hope for a brighter tomorrow.
So, as stated, you may not realize you were yearning for something quite like The Last Dinner Party, but once you hear them, it will be an uplifting epiphany worth having. Simply spellbinding and one of the best new bands to emerge in years, Cryptic Rock gives Prelude to Ecstasy 5 out of 5 stars.