The Last Dinner Party: Prelude to Ecstasy Review – The Year’s Most Hyped Band Totally Deliver
Five-Piece Band Ground Their Sparks-Like Tendency Towards Excess and Musical Theatre with Consistently Well-Written Songs Primed for Festival Singalongs
It’s hard to think of the last time a band elected to open their debut album with an orchestral overture. But that’s how the Last Dinner Party‘s debut begins: woodwind, brass, and strings turned up to 11, further decorated with crashing cymbals and shimmering harp. It’s so grandiose, even the director of a 1950s Hollywood blockbuster would have suggested his soundtrack composer dial it down a bit.
It’s also bold to the point of seeming faintly provocative, but then if you were in the Last Dinner Party, you’d probably be feeling confident, too. They begin 2024 in receipt of both this year’s BBC Sound of… award and the Brits’ Rising Star gong. Their preceding 12 months have been an inexorable rise. They started selling out gigs when they had released less than nine minutes of Music, were lavished with praise by everyone from Florence Welch to Garth Crooks (the latter feeling impelled to interrupt an episode of Football Focus to describe them as “fine young women making really exciting pop music”) and have weathered the inevitable accusations of being an “industry plant” that seem as much part of an artist’s swift progress in the 21st century as breathless this-band-will-change-your-life coverage in the weekly music press once was.
Sounding Like a Fusion of Roxy Music and Sparks, The Last Dinner Party Debut with a Bang on Prelude to Ecstasy
Despite their sudden rise to fame, it’s easy to see why people might look askance at the Last Dinner Party. They seem to have arrived fully formed, although that’s the result of Nothing More sinister than frantic woodshedding during the gig-free Covid years: looking fabulous and teeming with ideas, among them their penchant for announcing dress codes for their gigs – Victoriana, Brothers Grimm, Velvet Goldmine – a smart way of both lifting their shows out of the ordinary and creating a sense of IRL community. Their debut single Nothing Matters featured a chorus so preposterously nailed-on that, on first listen, you could already imagine a field full of festival-goers howling along to it. Prelude to Ecstasy is well produced – boasting string arrangements mercifully less histrionic than the introduction might suggest, a glossy sheen and some nice touches courtesy of James Ford, the long, shoegaze-y coda of bending tones that concludes On Your Side among them – but it doesn’t sound that different from the video of their third gig that was posted to YouTube, sparking a stampede among major labels and management companies.
The Last Dinner Party‘s Debut Album is a Delight, Filled with Enough Ideas to Suggest That They’ll Come Up with Just as Many More the Next Time Around
Prelude to Ecstasy is a delight, filled with enough ideas to suggest that they’ll come up with just as many more the next time around: the Last Dinner Party‘s confidence may stem less from the hype they’ve provoked than the fact they know how good they are.
Other Music News This Week:
- Fabiana Palladino – Stay With Me Through the Night: Pitched somewhere between slick soul and the singer-songwriter approach of Natalie Prass, this is subtly funky and self-possessed.