The Last Dinner Party Share Their Enchanting Debut Album ‘Prelude to Ecstasy’ [Album Review]

Olive Soki

In 1848, The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of young artists who shared a certain disdain towards the state of academic art in Britain and a penchant towards late medievalism and early Renaissance art, joined forces, subsequently spawning what became the Pre-Raphaelite art movement. The works that followed this union championed the raw emotions and imperfections of the human condition that had been lost to the idyllic nature of the art produced by the brotherhood’s contemporaries.

In mid-Spring 2023, The Last Dinner Party, a baroque pop quintet from Brixton, broke the surface with their debut single “Nothing Matters.” The single, a wanton and passionate declaration of blinding desire, immediately flagged them down as a hot commodity in the music world. Merely a year later, following a string of equally successful singles, the band retuned with their debut album Prelude to Ecstasy; A body of work that artistically aligns with the 19th century art collective’s credo.

Starting with an instrumental grand overture, the record slowly unveils the enchanting world that lies behind its red velvet curtains. As the album unfolds, grief, love, passion and desire all take center-stage, each delivered with artistic furvour. When percieved as somewhat of a tragedy or epic, transitions like the one that happens between “Caesar on a TV Screen” and “The Feminine Urge” feel all the more satisfying. “Caesar on a TV Screen,” one of the lead singles, which compares the courage and gol of a high ranking male figure, like Julius Caesar, to the bliss and courage experienced in childhood, is perfectly juxtaposed by “The Feminine Urge.” A stormy ode to womanly ennuis, “The Feminine Urge” embodies the other side of the coin of the pompous story played out on the previous track.

Throughout the record, the band finds new and freshening ways to dynamasize each track by using poetic tale-esque lyrics (“I am a dark red liver, stretched out on the rocks/ all the poison. I convert it and i turn it to love”) and compelling instrumentation as rhetoric, like the subtle growth and pulse played out during “Beautiful Boy.”

Armed with the subversive instinct that once fueled the artistic minds of The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and the raw and expressive musical prowess of Kate Bush circa The Kick Inside, The Last Dinner Party reign victorious, from now until eternity.

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