The Last Dinner Party – Prelude To Ecstasy

We’ve had the buzz. We’ve had the hype. Now, The Last Dinner Party are serving up one of the most confident, brilliant debut albums in years.

Label: Island
Released: 2nd February 2024

The Last Dinner Party were a buzzword long before their debut track graced the airwaves. Featured prominently in 2023’s music tip-lists and whispered about on London’s live circuit, they’ve stood tall, their flair for drama and occasion heralding a sky-high ambition. Their first single, ‘Nothing Matters,’ arrived amid a storm of anticipation, crackling with electric takes. They quickly became a potential best-in-class standout, where loving them or not became a statement of intent. Amidst the inevitable backlash of toxicity, misogyny, and grumpiness, The Last Dinner Party emerged as that rarest of gems – a band seemingly perfectly formed from inception.

Their debut album, ‘Prelude to Ecstasy’, solidifies this impression. Overflowing with opulence and fully realised ideas, there’s no sense of scavenging through pop culture’s leftovers here. Much like fellow footsoldiers of hype Wet Leg, who confidently navigated their initial buzz to dominate the discourse of the last wave of débutantes, The Last Dinner Party’s presence is already undeniably iconic.

From the word go, the record unfolds as a grand narrative. Starting with the expansive introduction of ‘Prelude To Ecstasy’, it’s a journey of escalating ambition and artistry. Tracks like ‘Burn Alive’, ‘Caesar On A TV Screen’ and ‘The Feminine Urge’ continuously one-up each other as they elevate the stakes. The latter, an infectious, strutting stand-out that glistens like diamonds, is right up there with the very best – an instant repeat with a hook made by silk-spinning earworms. Yet, the album’s breadth extends beyond these potent future anthems. How many other new bands would have the confidence to have their keyboard player front an Albanian-language song about not being fluent in her native tongue? It is hardly the stuff of a cynical industry masterplan targeting the easiest-to-swallow fare.

Experiencing The Last Dinner Party live is to witness a palpable energy, a chemistry that translates impeccably into their recorded work. In Abigail Morris, they have a frontwoman who commands attention, audibly stalking her way through each song with a mix of vampiric charisma and dramatic flair. From the epic ‘My Lady Of Mercy’ to the swooning ‘Beautiful Boy’, it’s telling when that attention-grabbing debut single ‘Nothing Matters’ can be deployed one track from the end, and it not feel like a long tease. If you think a buzz band is marked out by a lack of substance, The Last Dinner Party don’t fit the tag. One of the most exciting new prospects in a decade or more, if this is just a prelude to ecstasy, what comes next could be epoch-defining.

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