The Last Dinner Party released its stunning debut LP Prelude to Ecstasy on Feb. 2. The British indie-rock band has spent the past several years playing live shows and opening for artists like Florence + The Machine and Hozier. The band’s name, inspired by the concept of throwing a hedonistic, celebratory banquet, is incredibly fitting. Every song that The Last Dinner Party releases is nothing short of an indulgence. The band’s first single release “Nothing Matters” exploded into the alternative rock scene, making Prelude To Ecstasy a highly anticipated release. From start to finish, Prelude To Ecstasy tastefully mixes rock, pop and baroque influences. Few bands can make sweeping string arrangements, intricate flute playing, distorted guitars and punchy piano chords happily coexist as The Last Dinner Party can. 
The band’s theatrical sensibility propels its members’ abilities to tell stories effectively and in clear, distinct voices. Singer Abigail Morris is a lively, energetic band leader who many fans have compared to Kate Bush and even Lucy Gray from “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” Morris sings with vitality, being supported by her bandmates in a sweeping, harmonic chorus. Stunning classical arrangements bookend Prelude To Ecstasy. The instrumental title track sets the album’s tone, suggesting that each song will stand out like an act in a magnificent play. “Burn Alive” mixes suspenseful electric guitar parts with glittery 80s-inspired synths. Morris’ voice is both delicate and intense, delivering every lyric with intention. The singles pack an even heavier punch when played in harmony with the rest of the album. The unbridled intensity of “Caesar on a TV Screen” and “My Lady of Mercy” and the euphoric ease of “On Your Side” create dynamic ebbs and flows. “The Feminine Urge” expresses the complexities of girlhood through ear-catching melodies and an infectious groove. Morris defiantly sings “Do you feel like a man when I can’t talk back? / Do you want me, or do you want control?” 
“Beautiful Boy” examines gender roles while comparing the feelings of lust and envy. Morris sincerely sings the line “I wish I could be a beautiful boy” against a backdrop of flute, soaring background vocals and crashing drums. The stunning interlude “Gjuha” is played on mandolin and supported by earnest, angelic harmonies. The track seamlessly transitions into “Sinner,” a rockin' highlight from the album. “Portrait of a Dead Girl” has an effective, Queen-esque build, and “Nothing Matters” is an irresistibly catchy pop-rock standout. The album closes with “Mirror,” a reflective, building track that ends with mysterious piano chords and a haunting string arrangement. Prelude To Ecstasy is a beautiful ode to womanhood, self-expression and rock n’ roll that you won’t want to miss out on.
- Madeleine Bradford

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