The Last Dinner Party
Prelude to Ecstasy


4.0
excellent

Review

by jesper STAFF
February 11th, 2024 | 40 replies


Release Date: 02/02/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I LIKE THE MUSIC, BUT

There’s really no good way to start any piece of writing about The Last Dinner Party: you either acknowledge the Discourse and engage with it, acknowledge the Discourse and state that you refuse to engage with it, or do not acknowledge the Discourse and leave a tangible Discourse-shaped hole of awkwardness to anyone reading. Yikes. Here goes nothing (read: something): I do not care about The Last Dinner Party being, not being, or being perceived as industry plants because, frankly, it does not matter. It’s easy to spot the sexist undertones of such contemplations and accusations, and ultimately it is just plain boring Discourse when there’s a whole album of music to discuss - interesting music, even.

The Last Dinner Party make interesting music that is as easy to define as it is hard to classify in the current landscape of interesting music. The British group’s debut Prelude to Ecstasy is lots of things: it’s indie pop, it’s glam, it’s baroque - moreover, it’s grandiose, expansive, and catchy as hell. Most impressively, however, is that every crevice of the record adopts a theatricality that feels earned and entirely tasteful (rare). The songwriting here is as razor-sharp as the album’s aesthetic vision to the point of chicken-and-egg: the relentlessly infectious choruses of highlights “Burn Alive” and “Nothing Matters” are as relevant to Prelude to Ecstasy’s success as the orchestral dissonance of “Gjuha” and several dark, transitional climaxes sprinkled throughout. Rather than contemplating hierarchy, what truly matters is that every element enhances the next: there’s a grand intro to set the stage, there’s lovely harmonies to amplify vocal melodies, there’s plentiful orchestral arrangements to add more than a few flairs of drama. Simply put, there’s a whole lot to dig into and get lost in.

However, it should be noted that nothing The Last Dinner Party puts forth here sounds truly original: while all the arrangements may be expansive and intricate at once, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Prelude to Ecstasy fails to capture anything fresh. At the same time, it’s clear that this album does not aim to break new ground: it fully commits to the aforementioned clear aesthetic vision instead. Part of this vision can be felt through the lyrical topics explored - in essence, each song deals with love from a different perspective. Occasionally, that love is uplifting and somewhat predictable, and sometimes that love is toxic and destructive. Yet, the best and most intriguing contemplations on the world’s least-discussed topic are shaped through the band’s femininity and understanding thereof. The ways cuts like “Beautiful Boy”, “The Feminine Urge” and “Sinner” deal with gender, sexuality and religion are as fresh as they are depressing. Moreover, the relative gloom of many of these songs provides a wonderful contrast and extra dimension to Prelude to Ecstasy: everything sounds big, but the theatricality hides something fragile and truly pristine.

With all of that being said, I must admit that Prelude to Ecstasy isn’t exactly my cup of tea. Sure, it’s a palpably excellent album and hard not to enjoy it while it’s on, but I would never actively seek out music that sounds like this. Perhaps that’s where some value can be found in the Discourse as well as The Last Dinner Party’s distinct sound and style. Firstly, I was made aware of the band by the Discourse, almost functioning as a self-fulfilling prophecy of success. Secondly, the thing that caused me to stick around and dig in was the band’s apparent inability to fit in: they sound and act unlike many of their contemporaries, and seem preoccupied with carefully carving out a unique space in the modern indie scene to inhabit. It’s a fun space, regardless of how you may get there - and I’m glad to be here.



s
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Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2024


5349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thank you blush < 3



good ablum

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2024


5631 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The Discourse would be a good name for a band

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2024


5349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sunny do u want to start a band called The Discourse where every song we write is about how we are industry plants

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2024


5631 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm down, sounds like good material for a concept album: we could name it something like "Born in Privilege, Planted by Industry, Buy Our Records"

DadKungFu
Contributing Reviewer
February 11th 2024


4545 Comments


"The way cuts like “Beautiful Boy”, “The Feminine Urge” and “Sinner” deal with gender, sexuality and religion are...fresh"

With titles like those, I'm skeptical

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2024


31821 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Summary of the year

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
February 11th 2024


1560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excellent review Jesper! That first paragraph really sums up perfectly the nature of the "discourse" and how little I care, as well, if they are "industry plants." It's about music, it's about quality, it's about vibes and energy, and if things sound good than I could not care less of the story behind their origin. That being said, I've only heard the singles so far and they sound solid so I am looking forward to checking this out soon.

someone
February 11th 2024


6298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

can i join The Discourse with you guys? i have a few lyrics about industrially produced plants and how unecological it is.



i assume that's what everyone is talking about here, right?

DadKungFu
Contributing Reviewer
February 11th 2024


4545 Comments


Hydroponics is the FUTURE of agriculture someone

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2024


4052 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you jesp, great stuff. I love the Beautiful Boy/Gjuha/Sinner run.

Mort.
February 11th 2024


24835 Comments


this really is a prelude to ecstasy

because i dont enjoy the album and i enjoy it more once its over

the ecstasy comes when its over



markjamie
February 12th 2024


598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The segue from Gjuha to Sinner is wonderful. I agree there isn't anything really groundbreaking here, but at the same time there isn't much (if anything) else around at the moment that sounds quite like it.



fogza
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2024


9640 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah this is a pretty good record despite the backlash, and it does feel out of step with what's current, which is a good thing. Much better than Wet Leg, who also got wrapped up in the Discourse

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2024


5349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thx guys!

they're also pretty neat live (even if they sure were 45 minutes late and started their performance at like midnight when i caught them lmao)

DoofDoof
February 12th 2024


14483 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I LIKE THE BUTT, WAS THERE MUSIC

someone
February 12th 2024


6298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Butt so good it play music

dedex
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2024


12696 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

aye gud discourse jesp! ain't crazycrazy about this but it's aight

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2024


1560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ended up enjoying this quite a bit. Very interesting blend of sounds, nice vocals, great production values.

Odal
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2024


1702 Comments


Album rips.

Industry plants be damned, they can write and they can play. And that's more than I can say for a lot of musicians, popular or not. If you spend any amount of time on instagram, you can see loads of homegrown wannabe-musicians making nauseatingly terrible music that placates to the mainstream. Last Dinner Party sounds really fresh to me making some truly sublime hits. They sound like a mix of Fleetwood and Arcade Fire on a lot of songs, but even that feels reductive

DoofDoof
February 12th 2024


14483 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

agree, they do sound a lot like a whole album of Arcade Fire's Régine Chassagne fronted songs



probably something I was happier taking in small doses but that's just personal preference really





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