A&E Review

The Last Dinner Party Captures What It’s Like To Be A Woman: “Prelude to Ecstasy” Album Review

“Prelude to Ecstasy” Album Cover. Photo Credit to Pitchfork.

The Last Dinner Party takes listeners to a room filled with candlelight, ballgowns and grand pianos in their debut album “Prelude to Ecstasy.” 

The album serves as a platform for the five women in the band who are trying to make an important point. Fighting battles between masculinity and femininity all while wanting to be longed for, The Last Dinner Party describes how it feels to be a woman throughout the album by exploring mother-daughter relationships, the need to be desired, sin, sexuality and betrayal. 

Taking it all in, this album deserves a diligent listen because every detail has gone into account for the British band. The five began releasing music as recently as last year, beginning with the release of their hit single “Nothing Matters” in April 2023. Since then, the band has released four more singles foreshadowing their debut album “Prelude to Ecstasy,” which was released on Feb. 2. 

The band wrote about the release of the album via Instagram: “Recording amidst the enchanting echoes of church studios in crouch hill in january ‘23 is now yours to love, cherish and worship.” 

The overall sound of the album gives off the feeling that it was written and recorded years before its time. The women of​​ The Last Dinner Party write about the challenges of being a woman while simultaneously making you feel like you’re living during the 1800s in England. Thus it simply makes sense that “Prelude To Ecstasy” was recorded in a church studio. 

An album is well thought out when it can be listened to through like one full-sounding performance. The Last Dinner Party effortlessly blended all 12 of their songs on the album to be played through in order — an incredible move on their part.

Beginning with the self-titled song “Prelude To Ecstasy,” serving as the opener of all openers; the song is completely instrumental and features a variety of orchestral instruments. Kicking off an album with a full orchestral overture is bold, and isn’t necessarily the most popular choice in music right now; nonetheless, it is the perfect way to begin the album. 

After only listening to the first song of “Prelude to Ecstasy,” the listener can tell that something is different about this girl band. Despite whether they like what they hear or not, it is clear that The Last Dinner Party knows who they are and are proud of it. 

The second song, “Burn Alive,” has an intensity unlike any of the other songs on the album. With reeling vocals and dramatic pauses, the listener has no idea what is to come next. Lead singer Abigail Morris takes us on a journey with her insane vocal range and her voice is captivating throughout the album. Not only is she talented, Morris is confident in her vocal abilities and sings with a fire and passion that fights for the audience to listen to her words. 

“Caesar on a TV Screen” is the third song on the album. Beginning slow and expressive, Morris sings: “Every night / When we say goodbye / I know that I can / See myself as a man / When I put on that suit / I don’t have to stay mute / I can talk all the time / ‘Cause my shoulders are wide.” 

These lyrics provide the audience with a powerful idea that the narrator has a deep desire for masculinity as a woman but only feels comfortable expressing such desires when she is alone. Specifically in the last three verses, Morris refers to wide shoulders as a masculine trait; she is telling the audience if only she was a man she wouldn’t be talked over and her voice would be heard. The song in its entirety is a tale of the narrator’s constant battle between masculinity and femininity, ending in Morris singing the words “And just for a second / I can be one of the greats / I am Caesar on a TV screen / … Everyone will love me.” 

The Last Dinner Party are lyrical geniuses, writing completely out-of-the-ordinary lines that are both easy to relate to and expressive.

In the fourth song titled “The Feminine Urge,” Morris sings about the sacred relationship between mothers and daughters, shedding light on the reality that so many women face as they grow older. The song focuses on the “hard to swallow” fact that all girls come to realize, that their mothers are just like them; women who are trying to figure out life. Generational trauma and the passing down of it is also mentioned within the song: “Here comes the feminine urge, I know it so well / To nurture the wounds my mother held.” 

Two of the most listened-to songs on the album are “Nothing Matters” and “Sinner,” which both were released before the debut album. The songs have gained traction on social media platforms and can be thought of as successes for the band. 

The Last Dinner Party is singing what so many women are feeling but don’t know how to say. The feeling of togetherness is present in their songs, sounding similar to the beloved band ABBA. 

The group has recently released a North America tour, a U.K. and Ireland tour, and is set to play Coachella this April.