The Last Dinner Party embrace melodrama on long-awaited debut

The titular opening track to The Last Dinner Party’s debut album, Prelude to Ecstasy, feels akin to the lifting of a heavy velvet curtain at a show – a pronouncement, an opening, a theatrical moment of invitation. You can envision the audience sat with bated breath, though this audience has a particularly feverish excitement about them. Arguably one of the most highly-anticipated debut albums of recent years, Prelude to Ecstasy had high expectations around it in swathes. Unsurprisingly, The Last Dinner Party rise to them.

Immediately embracing the baroque and melodramatic, ‘Burn Alive’ comes alive with building, histrionic instrumentals that The Last Dinner Party excel at. It’s a prowling taunt, inching closer before drawing back until you can barely look away. They are ever-shifting, but meticulously so – they exercise levels of control, puppeteering their way through, even when each track darts from crawling and languid to near-bacchanalian in its frenzied, anthemic moments.

Amidst all the twisting and turning, The Last Dinner Party stay committed to their ornate, maximalist tendencies in every drama-heavy riff and cascade of strings. Lyrically, they veer towards the confessional, dark realisations and an exorcism of the soul in the way of the poets they adore. They prove themselves deftly clever, weaving tales of emotions felt to their utmost intensity. Nothing is ever minimal – the pain they depict is enough to bring you to your knees, the passion enough to send you spiralling into debaucherous revelry. It’s a hedonistic rush from start to finish, through the alluringly dark gothic nature of ‘On Your Side’ to the free-wheeling glee of ‘Sinner’.

First single ‘Nothing Matters’ remains some of their strongest work so far, an epitome of the mystical, glamorous heights they seek to ascend to. Played out on the cathartic stage of Prelude to Ecstasy, however, the track unleashes a new power. The album becomes an act of total expulsion – every lyric a baring of the soul, every note ripped straight from the band’s core. The final riff of ‘Mirror’ is delivered, marking one last act of glorious, delicious exorcism.

Prelude to Ecstasy is a fitting title – with their debut album, the band performs the prelude that can only lead to stratospheric heights for The Last Dinner Party.

Haiku Review:
Melodrama rules
With The Last Dinner Party
This is just the start

Prelude to Ecstasy is out tomorrow via Island Records. You can pre-order / pre-save it right here, and catch the band live at an upcoming in-store event below:

2nd February – Pyyzm, Kington (in association with Banquet Records)
3rd February – Rough Trade East, London (afternoon show)
3rd February – Rough Trade East, London (evening show)
5th February – Resident Records, Brighton
6th February – HMV, Manchester
7th February – HMV Vault, Birmingham
8th February – Rough Trade, Bristol
11th February – Brudenell Social Club, Bristol (in association with Crash Records)

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