The Last Dinner Party
Prelude to Ecstasy


2.5
average

Review

by boredcore USER (8 Reviews)
February 10th, 2024 | 22 replies


Release Date: 02/02/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Saltburn: The Musical

- [ ] “It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism” whether you attribute that quote to Frederick Jameson or Slavor Zizek, it starts to feel increasingly true in a world dominated by climate crisis, the defeat of popular leftist cultural movements in the UK and US and the indifference of Western powers to the genocidal declarations by Benjamin Netanyahu as the bodies of innocent Palestinians pile high. Where previous global crises saw Britain’s ruling class develop a social conscience, formulating council houses, national insurance and the NHS, the covid pandemic gave us Banana Bread, Matt Hancock: from social murderer to reality TV star and a new wave of heavily hyped on arrival UK guitar bands. Wet Leg and Yard Act exploded into the public consciousness with equal parts delight and disdain, somehow being given the keys to the kingdom by the hyper capitalist at the heart of the music industry. While Wet Leg’s folklore focused on burying the lede of their industry backing and Yard Act made their rock n roll swindle explicit, the sense of fun and humour propelled their perfectly cromulent guitar driven pop to the relative stratosphere. The major music was on notice, there was an appetite for guitar music again.
Despite protests to the contrary from, basically everyone involved, this was not a grass roots movement. DIY bands still toiled away to crowds of similar sizes, bands were not readily being plucked from toilet circuit obscurity to magazine front covers and erm, sharing bills with The Rolling Stones four or fives gigs into their life spans.
This was carefully calculated, ready on arrival products marketed to the fiscal sensibilities of the accountants who’ve been given the keys to the kingdom, praise be the almighty algorithms.
Rock music is all about mythology and for myth to have meaning, it doesn’t necessarily need to be true it just needs to feel authentic. The mythology around The Last Dinner Party was so demonstrably inauthentic to anyone with the most rudimentary grasp of Google that you almost have to wonder if the backlash was the point.
In an era where everyone is making art but financial inequality is growing exponentially,the gatekeepers have become more important than ever. The unintended consequence of poptimism as a critical movement in removing the barrier between “popular” and “good” is that Taylor Swift now fights for space on Pitchfork alongside indie bands with a hundredth of the budget. Indie credibility is essentially meaningless yet this juggernaut pop project in The Last Dinner Party felt the need to co-opt it in a way that made them look even more like the “industry plants” they were trying to avoid being seen as, allegedly. But when you start to pick apart this record, it starts to make a lot of sense.
The cultural capital of guitar music is now rooted in Nostalgia and The Last Dinner Party sell the dream of Indie’s hype past from 20 years ago, to those exact same people. On an episode of cult UK Indie nostalgia podcast “22 Grand Pod” Ryan from Yard Act talked about how the bands initial success wasn’t with “The Kids” but with audiences closer in age to the band. Which have become colloquially known in some circles as The 6 music dad.

And this is what this record is, music for the dwindling and ageing middle classes, to try and recapture the energy of their youth but backed by the capital that only coming of age long before the financial crisis can really afford you.
This record is less a prelude to ecstasy and more an existential distraction. As the moneyed middle classes bury their heads in the sand at the state of the country. Because you will never make a man understand something his salary depends on him not.
Prelude to Ecstasy is technically cromulent and full of bold set pieces and well constructed melodies but this band only have the platform they have to exist because they have absolutely nothing interesting to say and that’s where this record fails as a piece of art.

As a commercial product, it is a resounding success. The flashy imagery and big bold set pieces rewarded. The class position of it’s creators cannot be divorced from what they have created because “art” this banal can only ever be celebrated when it is made by the oxbridge elite. How else would a movie as patchy and half baked as Saltburn be made if it’s creator didn’t lack the self awareness to unironically pronounce her surname “Phen-nell”

Prelude to Ecstasy is fine and will find its home in constant radio 2 rotation soon enough. But it’s the audible equvilance of the “This is Fine” meme as the world burns, but to it’s audience they don’t care, as long as they’re allowed to be king of the ashes



Recent reviews by this author
The Dare The Sex EPThe 1975 Notes on a Conditional Form
Black Country, New Road For the first timeHarry Styles Harry Styles
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Skeleton TreeNosferatu D2 We're Gonna Walk Around This City...
user ratings (83)
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
jesper STAFF (4)
I LIKE THE MUSIC, BUT...



Comments:Add a Comment 
someone
February 10th 2024


6298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Even the general "18 year old just got radicalised" blabbering aside, this is one heck of a clunky review. More of a rant, really, uninterested in critique, but in picketing.



I don't necessarily disagree, but what a mess of a text.



Also, obligatorily: "This is a music website"

DoofDoof
February 10th 2024


14483 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

the review is 90% context...but the product comes across as 90% calculated formula, so is reflective



probably the unfulfilling review the album deserves in all honesty

Sinternet
February 10th 2024


26507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

why the fuck does no one know what an industry plant is anymore



hint: its not rich kids making art, or a band being picked up early because some a&r at a major label found them playing a gig before they had to spend years grinding for any attention



it's those who explicitly lay claim to the struggle of a diy or underground movement



i don't even think it's possible to be an industry plant glam pop rock band, because there's nothing underground or diy about that anyway



if they were a hardcore band who sang about living shitty lives on an estate whilst in reality they lived in a country house with daddy whose on the board of directors at lloyds it's one thing, but making faux-retro throwback 70s tunes with a sprinkling of mitski-isms is about as far away from anything that could be claimed to have been co-opted and sanitised from working class culture



get some perspective for the love of christ and channel this energy into something useful, whining about a bunch of early 20s rich kids singing songs about nothing in particular is not praxis, it's just the dull teenage leftist equivalent of 40 minute 'anti-woke' video essays

markjamie
February 11th 2024


598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Got to give you credit - first review I've read on Sput that didn't actually reference a single song from the album.





Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2024


31820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I thought this was fine

Mort.
February 11th 2024


24835 Comments


the music or the review?

the review is more of a mini essay than a review i guess

i think their music is incredibly meh

and i dont particularly care about the pedantics of 'industry plant'.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2024


31820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the music, i enjoyed some of the songs, they're probably being blown out of proportion with the whole industry plant thing, and it's a bit over produced, but I've heard way worse.

boredcore
February 11th 2024


52 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

So we're all in agreement that this record is fine but the perception of it is based on their class privilege rather than there being an indelible quality that sets it apart from other artists who are struggling and also trying to get the music industry support and that an industry dominated by the middle classes will reproduce more hyper middle class artists making safe "art" ?

boredcore
February 11th 2024


52 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The point I am trying to make is they are being held up as "the gold standard" and they are just "not the worst I've heard"



The musicianship on this record is fantastic don't get me wrong, but what do you expect from people who are classically trained.



The "gold standard" shouldn't be technically proficient and soul less and if it is then it should be rejected and opposed less, in the age of AI we'll just get increasingly boring carbon copies of this and everyone pivoting to copy it, in order to get picked up.



It's not about the band but defending the kind of music culture that you to foster going forward.



The success of The Last Dinner Party as an idea is bad for the future of indie music.



Am I being deliberately polemic? Yes.



Do you have to agree with me? No.





Sinternet
February 11th 2024


26507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

how are they held up as 'the gold standard'? they just have a buzz around them. same as every other young uk band that has come up in the last few years. it's all the same marketing - focus on iterating songs through a couple eyars worth of live shows to build hype before dropping a studio debut.



"The musicianship on this record is fantastic don't get me wrong, but what do you expect from people who are classically trained."



is being classically trained a mark against art? you phrase it as if that's a bad thing



"The "gold standard" shouldn't be technically proficient and soul less and if it is then it should be rejected and opposed less, in the age of AI we'll just get increasingly boring carbon copies of this and everyone pivoting to copy it, in order to get picked up."



doesn't sound 'soulless' to me, and the idea that technical proficiency is inherently linked to being 'soulless' is worrying on your part. do you think bands copying other bands is a new thing caused by AI? for the entire history of recorded music artists have copied other more successful ones. to hold that as a mark against the originators or figureheads of a style is unfair and a bad faith argument.



"It's not about the band but defending the kind of music culture that you to foster going forward.

The success of The Last Dinner Party as an idea is bad for the future of indie music."



if you're whole ethos is that 'indie' music should only ever be working class, well you're about 30 years late for that pointless crusade

boredcore
February 11th 2024


52 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I think the argument you think I am making and the argument I am actually making are different, which I will accept is probably an issue with my phrasing more than your comprehension.



I think the argument I am trying to make is that when you are classically trained, the levels of your musicianship, while it may stand out against self trained musicians or those who don't have that background isn't an anomaly, so to contextualise the band against their backgrounds, it's not notable, it's what you should expect.



Technically proficient doesn't equal soul-less but a focus on developing a skill proficiently can remove the individual eccentricities of the artist that make them interesting.



I'm basically making the argument that someone like Trent Reznor or Atticus Ross would make about how digital technology has given us the ability to correct "mistakes", snap everything to the grid and making very perfect records but a lot of the things that would stick out to a listeners ear or make something interesting are things we would class as "mistakes", it's the humanity of the record.



I think I am trying to acknowledge that people will always copy what is successful and the commercial success of TLDP is something risk averse industry types will copy because it's proven to work so the only artists that will get picked up will be posh, technical proficient if a little without vision artists and then that becomes the model.



Whereas access to the industry from artists from the global majority or other under represented backgrounds will not become any more attainable. If anything it will create another barrier to entry if everyone is expected to have trained at Guildhall or wherever.



I guess my argument is, the band are and record is unremarkable against the resources it had in order to be made and I think that's a thing most fair minded people would acknowledge, as most have.



Nothing about the record tangibly or artistically justifies the commercial success it has achieved asides from the money spent on it and promoting it and the only reason they were given the money to spend on it, is because of their class position and the fact they are accessible and aren't saying anything challenging.



This is without getting into the theories of how some people just have more of a talent for being successful than others, but that's harder to quantify.



It's not that posh people can't make indie music, it's that if the creators of this record weren't posh it would have been perceived way differently by the industry for it to even get to the point of a wider release.













boredcore
February 11th 2024


52 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

basically, if you've got this much skill and resources, either make something way more daring and interesting or make something much more fun.



How much were your private school fees btw?

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2024


31820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah like black midi

Sinternet
February 11th 2024


26507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I think the argument I am trying to make is that when you are classically trained, the levels of your musicianship, while it may stand out against self trained musicians or those who don't have that background isn't an anomaly, so to contextualise the band against their backgrounds, it's not notable, it's what you should expect."



i really don't undertsand what this point even is. that they've had music lessons so they can play music? what does this have to do with anything?



"Technically proficient doesn't equal soul-less but a focus on developing a skill proficiently can remove the individual eccentricities of the artist that make them interesting."



the word 'can' doing a lot of heavy lifting here. classical training emphasises the need for individual eccentricity and aims to further develop that. people have a really warped view of what classical training for a musician is for some reason.



"I'm basically making the argument that someone like Trent Reznor or Atticus Ross would make about how digital technology has given us the ability to correct "mistakes", snap everything to the grid and making very perfect records but a lot of the things that would stick out to a listeners ear or make something interesting are things we would class as "mistakes", it's the humanity of the record."



considering both have pioneered the use of many forms of digital technologies within music i'd be interested if you can dig up any relevant quotes from either on the subject. regardless, what does this have to do with this band at all? they're not 'snapped to a grid' and they have plenty of flair and 'imperfections', these are all meaningless buzzwords anyway and show a lack of understanding of modern recording.



"I think I am trying to acknowledge that people will always copy what is successful and the commercial success of TLDP is something risk averse industry types will copy because it's proven to work so the only artists that will get picked up will be posh, technical proficient if a little without vision artists and then that becomes the model."



and again, this is a silly point. why should one band's success carving out their own style be nullified by the fact that others will jump on their schtick afterwards. this is true of any band that has ever become successful regardless of what kind of class background they are from. it's a non-argument.

Sinternet
February 11th 2024


26507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Whereas access to the industry from artists from the global majority or other under represented backgrounds will not become any more attainable. If anything it will create another barrier to entry if everyone is expected to have trained at Guildhall or wherever."



we're at the point in music history where success is MOST attainable for under-represented artists - DIY scenes are absolutely everywhere online and are no longer restricted by locality or identity. does that still count for a minority percentage of sales in the music industry? sure, but it's better than it was at any previous point, and as technology and it's abundance grow those barriers will only deteriate further, even if at a slower pace. how many out LGBT (and especially T and NB) artists did you see 20 years ago? how many artists outside western europe and northern america had success in these markets 20 years ago? the answer is very few.



"I guess my argument is, the band are and record is unremarkable against the resources it had in order to be made and I think that's a thing most fair minded people would acknowledge, as most have."



i don't understand this either, how much money do you think was spent on this band? probably far less than you expect. i don't know what you mean by unremarkable, or 'resources' and going 'most fair-minded people agree with me' is stunningly anti-intellectual.



"Nothing about the record tangibly or artistically justifies the commercial success it has achieved asides from the money spent on it and promoting it and the only reason they were given the money to spend on it, is because of their class position and the fact they are accessible and aren't saying anything challenging."



we don''t even know what commercial success it has had because it's been out one fucking week. are you just discovering that marketing exists? i guarantee you if there was a band from a working class background doing the same thing the same resources would have been spent on them, perhaps even more. and mass appeal sells? these are such pithy arguments that have no substance to them. like yeah, if you make an album that a lot of people like it will sell copies. this goes for any album from any background.

Sinternet
February 11th 2024


26507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"This is without getting into the theories of how some people just have more of a talent for being successful than others, but that's harder to quantify."



please expand on this because i have no idea what this even means



"It's not that posh people can't make indie music, it's that if the creators of this record weren't posh it would have been perceived way differently by the industry for it to even get to the point of a wider release."



no? all the industry cares about for the most part is if they can make money off it. having a working class artist that they discovered is a plus in the industry - struggle stories sell. relatable media to what amounts to the most populous class in the uk, sells any band making music like this and with charisma will have been snapped up by a label. the only factor in any of this that you could reasonably critique is the ability for bands to gain access to book shows and network with other artists at the very earliest stage of their career.



"basically, if you've got this much skill and resources, either make something way more daring and interesting or make something much more fun."



tidk, this is fun and interesting to me. daring? maybe not, but i still can't think of another band that sounds quite like them.



"How much were your private school fees btw?"



nice poisoning the well there! i grew up in an extremely poor household going to a deprived state school on free school meals. on several occasions i had to go to school with holes in my shoes because my parents couldn't afford new ones yet. i succeeded academically and was offered a scholarship to a private school when i was 11, but that still with all the reductions would have costed around £3k a term, which over the year would have amounted to around 70% of my family's total income. i had to grind hard amidst poor mental health in my teens and managed to complete a first-class degree against that background with no financial support at all. so maybe, instead of spending your time writing poorly constructed arguments fetishizing working class culture go out and do something useful with your tiem, and gain some perspective.l

boredcore
February 11th 2024


52 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The last comment about private school was just a troll I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it.

Mort.
February 11th 2024


24835 Comments


i dunno seems like an industry plant to me

adtminimal
February 11th 2024


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

...

FowlKrietzsche
February 12th 2024


415 Comments


good fucking god dude just take an intro to phil class



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy