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The Pearl Post

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The Pearl Post

Feast your ears on The Last Dinner Party’s debut album, “Prelude to Ecstasy”

The Last Dinner Party |
The Last Dinner Party’s debut album “Prelude to Ecstasy” was released on Feb. 2, leaving fans craving for more from the British rock quintet.

Only nine months after the release of their first ever single, British rock band The Last Dinner Party have released their lush, theatrical and ambitious debut album “Prelude to Ecstasy.”

The band met in London in 2020 before starting university and was initially composed of Abigail Morris (lead vocals), Emily Roberts (lead guitarist, mandolin, flute) and Lizze Mayland (guitar, flute.) The band would later bring in Georgia Davies (bass guitar) and Aurora Nishevci (keyboard, organ piano, synthesizer.) They began performing live shows in late 2021 and the buzz they gained through these shows led them to being signed by Island Records. 

The band’s debut single and lead single for the album, “Nothing Matters,” was released on April 19, 2023, and it is a splendid cut that mixes glam, post-punk and baroque pop to concoct an impressive first single. The highlight for me in the song is absolutely the last third with the bridge and its positively electrifying guitar solo and the ensuing final chorus, which would be an understatement to call anthemic. Its catchy melodies and strong performances make the single a fantastic introduction to the talents of the group.

The band received a lot of attention from their first single, the song charting at #31 on the Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay chart. They continued to drum up hype for their debut album with more singles and at the end of the year earned the prestigious BRIT Rising Star Award 2024

The album was released on Feb. 2 through Island Records and is 41 minutes long. It opens with the title track “Prelude to Ecstasy.” It’s an orchestral instrumental that works like an overture, settling you into the album before the journey truly begins. It creates this beautiful ambiance going into the record and matches the band’s curated Victorian gothic renaissance aesthetic. It also shows the ambition of the album, the unique instrumentation and strings throughout the album add grandiosity and a dramatic flair to the listening experience. 

“Burn Alive,” written shortly after Morris’s father’s death, is a sarcastic declaration of commodifying one’s pain for profit and the sensation of being burned alive by your art. The song is just one big gothic build-up and I love it. I particularly adore the synths in the back.

“Caesar on a TV Screen” is a much groovier and catchy track, being a cheeky playful track about masculinity, confidence and the desire to be seen. “Feminine Urge” is about the shared traumas of mothers, daughters and how that trauma goes back generations.

“Personally, from a lyric perspective, they always say write what you know. What I know is the feminine struggle with one’s mother and you know, experiencing unrequited love,” Morris said in a Paper Magazine interview.

“Beautiful Boy” has the singer expressing her jealousy of a beautiful boy and wishing she were born a beautiful boy for the privilege it brings. The song is a highlight lyrically with strong lines such as, “I am held captive by the ribbon ‘round my neck.” Fittingly, it’s quite a beautiful song, the song feeling like a stroll through an impeccably decorated garden. 

The entire album is sonically beautiful with all these production flourishes that add to the soundscape of the record. The record is produced by James Ford who has worked with Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys and the Pet Shop Boys. His production can feel large and theatrical but it never loses the intimacy or energy from the performances. 

“(Ford) was like, ‘I want to keep the humanity and keep the energy.’ That’s what makes recorded music feel alive, especially our kind of rock music with live strings and stuff. The humanity of us not being computerized brings so much love to it,” Morris said about Ford in a Variety Magazine article. 

The haunting aria interlude “Ghuja” transitions straight into the danceable “Sinner,” which gets listeners moving with its fun indie rock riffs. Then there’s the genre blending single “My Lady of Mercy,” whose verses are wistful and give off a fun indie pop vibe before crashing into a harder rock chorus. Both songs are about queerness, with “My Lady of Mercy” using religious imagery to illustrate the singer’s love of a woman.

“Portrait of a Dead Girl” was inspired by a picture Morris found on Pinterest. It’s a ballad about a toxic relationship where the singer feels protected by a big bad wolf but the protection is just temporary. It’s another track that shows the band’s songwriting prowess especially when it comes to choruses, which always manage to be infectiously catchy. The Florence + the Machine and David Bowie influence feels particularly potent on this track.

“Mirror” is a stunning closer that turns the atmosphere and drama all the way up, with the singer contemplating her role as a performer and the need for a crowd who will listen to you. It’s epic, the album at its most dramatic and the song climaxes with an enchanting hypnotizing guitar solo from Emily Roberts. The song closes the album off in a full circle moment by having another orchestral instrumental at the end.

“Prelude to Ecstasy” is an impressive first outing for the British indie-rock quintet, living up to the reputation they had gained for their live shows and showing up to their debut album fully formed. It’s hard not to fall in love with the 41 minutes of beautiful vocals, insightful lyrics and the unique mix of glam rock, post-punk and baroque-pop presented on the album. I surely hope this isn’t the last of their parties because based off this album, the band sure knows how to throw quite the event.

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Andre Arcilla
Andre Arcilla, Digital Media Editor
Junior Andre Arcilla is entering his first year on staff as the Digital Media Editor of The Pearl Post. Arcilla enjoys drawing art and editing videos. His goal this school year is to lessen his procrastination and to wear better outfits.
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