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How I was won over by The Last Dinner Party

Cynicism of the art rockers’ hype machine was easy, but the deeper moments on ‘Prelude To Ecstacy’ ensure the acclaim is warranted.

Every now and then a band comes around so hyped and so shoved down your throat the temptation to hate on them is oh so easy. A couple of years ago it was Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg and recently it's been the turn of London-based art-rock band The Last Dinner Party: a band championed all across the music press without, as many cynics have claimed, earning their stripes within the indie underground. Exposure most bands could only ever dream and there even the odd claim they were industry plants (vehemently denied by the band, of course).

Initially, the music of the BBC Sound of 2024 winning band was just a bit too drama school for my liking and the early singles did nothing for us. Judging them only on the handful of songs to their name late last year, the whole acclaim just felt a bit unjustified.

Then again, being a fan of a more raucous rock ’n’ roll style maybe I just wasn’t in their target audience. And never one to fully write a band off, I decided I’d need to properly give their debut album a chance when it finally arrived to see what the fuss was about.

A few weeks since the release of their much acclaimed debut album Prelude To Ecstasy and I’m slowly coming round. The five-piece are heavily influenced by Florence and The Machine and Sparks, the latter artist of which has helped hook us in (the former not so much - hearing Florence on a night out would usually result in a dash off the dancefloor and to the bar for a top up!). But not just that, seeing frequent Arctic Monkeys producer James Ford pop up within the production credits certainly added another layer of intrigue.

The production throughout is particularly lush and grand, and to their credit, is pretty fun for the most part. While the likes of ‘Caesar On A TV Screen’ and ‘Lady Of Mercy’ are still pretty ambivalent sounding for me, its the substance of the album tracks that has warmed me to them. Particularly the ominous riffs on ‘Burn Alive’, the tender piano ballad ‘On Your Side’, ‘Portrait of A Dead Girl with it’s Pink Floyd-esque solo and the epic, Morricone-inspired finale ‘Mirror’. I’ve even warmed to their signature tune ‘Nothing Matters’ which finds its place well as a euphoric penultimate track. 

So there you have it, I’m becoming a Last Dinner Party convert. Because scratch beneath the hype and we find tunes that are lustful, empowering and majestic. A focused band with a style that certainly has captured the imagination of fans of British indie. Now I’m starting to get it too. Forgive me if I'm late to this particular party.



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