The Last Dinner Party – Prelude to Ecstasy

Last year, expectations surrounding the British five-piece women’s band The Last Dinner Party were already quite high due to the catchy bombastic singles “Nothing Matters” and “Sinner”. Somewhere I read a tantalizing description: ‘Florence + the Machine meets ABBA’. These are of course quite big names to compare with. Comparisons are often made with new bands to categorize them, but this influence is often completely denied by the artists themselves. However, the ladies of The Last Dinner Party amply admit that ABBA, Kate Bush, Florence, David Bowie, Sparks and Warpaint were certainly influences. It creates even higher expectations because they have been named the most promising new band in the BBC’s Sound of 2024 list. An annual poll that had some predecessors such as Haim, Michael Kiwanuka and Sam Smith, to name just three from the past 10 years.

Now there is their long-awaited debut album “Prelude To Ecstacy”. The instrumental first song immediately sets the tone for the theatrical element of the album, which they are not averse to. As if the following ominous “Burn Alive” is the opening of a symphonic rock opera. The single “Caesar On The TV Screen” brings back Sparks-like memories. It is all introduced very gradually. For example, the heart-pouring ballad “On Your Side” fits perfectly next to the more subdued-sounding “Beautiful Boy”, a point of rest between the theatrical bombast. After which it becomes more poppy again with the short transitional song “Gjuha” and the Abba-like “Sinner”. While “My Lady Of Mercy” sounds completely like an indie pop song from 2024. After the hit “Nothing Matters” (still the catchiest song on the album), the album closes with a 5-minute track that nicely summarizes everything from sober to bombast: “Mirror”.

“Prelude To Ecstacy” sounds like a rock opera in which the variety between the songs is excellent. It is an album where you continue to discover new things after listening several times. The group may be very hyped at the moment, but “Prelude To Ecstacy” is an interesting debut album with which they put themselves on the map. (9/10) (Island)

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