The Last Dinner Party and the benefits of cinematic instrumentation

by Iris Cotrupi

The Last Dinner Party and the benefits of cinematic instrumentation

The Last Dinner Party has at last released their debut album Prelude To Ecstasy. Last year, the group introduced themselves with their nihilist banger; “Nothing Matters” and set the bar very high. Since then, the British talents have released four more songs, put out multiple baroque music videos and opened for the Rolling Stones.

The album opens with a title track produced by James Ford (produced for Arctic Monkeys) that contains maximal sounds reminiscent of Tumblr days long ago. Prelude to Ecstasy builds upon its instrumental opening with moody lines like “There is candle wax melting in my veins” and “Let me make my grief a commodity.” While navigating these human experiences, the ‘fed up’ concept that The Last Dinner Party attempts to portray sometimes falls short of cathartic and lands somewhere closer to imitative. Despite this, the orchestration, strong strings and booming vocals kept my attention.

While the lyrics on songs like “Beautiful Boy” and “The Feminine Urge” are a bit more unimaginative, the sweeping instrumentals should be bottled and drunk. On Prelude to Ecstasy, The Last Dinner Party excels at constructing full, dark tracks but lacks authenticity within its lyrics.

In the indie music universe, authenticity is the leading currency. Originally synonymous with independent music, the genre as a whole has undoubtedly shifted. Independent music refers to work produced independently from commercial record labels and their subsidiaries. ‘Indie’ is now a term used semi-haphazardly, and The Last Dinner Party is a prime example of this reality. The group is listed as an ‘alternative indie’ band, a sound heavily associated with highlighting personal experience whether by song-writing or performance. Indieheads on Reddit have strong opinions regarding the quick rise of the group, and the term ‘industry plant’ has been used too many times to count.

Regardless, I’m much more a fan than a critic, and do not intend to call the band’s talent or hard work into question. However, The Last Dinner Party brings about an interesting conversation about the limits record labels have within the indie-scape. The listening experience I had with Prelude to Ecstasy was enjoyable, but fleeting. Both “Sinner” and “Nothing Matters” are melodious and insanely catchy, yet the lyrics carry little meaning. Their TikTok format is undeniable, and as a jaded, pretentious loser, it's increasingly difficult for a perceived inauthenticity to qualify engagement.

The Last Dinner Party’s lyricism redeems itself on the album's seventh track; “Gjuha.” Sung primarily by band member Aurora Nishevci in Albanian, the panoramic nature of the song makes the listener feel spacious in their own mind. The track details the heartbreaking frustration of being unable to communicate with loved ones and is the only song on the album that feels personal. Nishevci cites an Albanian folk song as her inspiration and the shame of not knowing her mother tongue. The song sticks out from the entirety of the album in the best possible way.