The Last Dinner party is a British indie rock band consisting of women and non-binary individuals that formed in 2020. The quintet consists of lead singer Abigail Morris, Lizzie Mayland on vocals and guitar, Emily Roberts on lead guitar, madolian, and flute, Georgia Davies on bass, and Aurora Nishevci on keys and vocals. Their first single was released in April of 2023, while their debut album was released on Feb. 2.
“At last we lay our debut album, ‘Prelude To Ecstasy,’ at your feet,” the band said in an Instagram post.
Throughout the entire album, you are given an experience that transports you in and out of time. The theme of the album is renaissance baroque-esque, which is seen in imagery, performances, and outfits. Referencing Julius Caesar in “Caesar on a TV Screen” and renaissance paintings in “Portrait of a Dead Girl.” Within the lyrics “I felt like one of those portraits of women protected by a beast on a chain,” the imagery contrasts the roles of males and females in society while placing a lens on the renaissance era, but with modern flair. They play into this dynamic of hate and power and wishing for that freedom others have, that transcends the barrier of time. Lyrically the songs are in depth and you could listen to them a hundred times over and find more meaning. Thought was put into all of these songs.
The songs and their order feel utterly intentional, everything fits together like a gorgeous puzzle. The band opens the album with “Prelude To Ecstasy,” which is an instrumental overture that could be in a symphony all on its own. The transition between songs “Prelude To Ecstasy” and “Burn Alive” work cohesively. The drumming and instrumentals throughout feel light yet strong in every note fueling the beginning of the album. “Beautiful Boy” is a slow song with a beautiful flute melody that transitions into an angelic interlude in “Gjuha.” In “Beautiful Boy,” the lyrics “And what I'm feeling isn't lust its envy” plays into this power dynamic seen throughout the work, turning into this boiling rage. The final song of the album “Mirror” puts the entire piece together with themes of the interlude from the beginning coming full circle.
I wish the theme stayed consistent instrumentally throughout the entire piece. In songs like “Sinner” and “Nothing Matters,” we get these electronic beats we don't get in “Portrait of a Dead Girl” and "Mirror," which sets these apart from the rest of the album. I wish they would have stuck with electronic indie baroque throughout (though I would love to hear a straight instrumental album from the band). When the song “Portrait of a Dead Girl” comes on, it feels like it holds less weight, even when it contains the same imagery/theme. It just loses emphasis because it's put in between two electronic energetic songs.
I could not wait for this album and the result is so much better than I expected from a debut album. The Last Dinner Party has a great career ahead of them, starting off with this beautiful arrival. If you love fun theming, queer vibes, and overall good lyricism, this album is for you.
I give “Prelude To Ecstasy” a 9 out of 10 rating.