Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

The Last Dinner Party are sadly rather good

This dislikeable band's first album, Prelude to Ecstasy, is pompous, precocious, clever and melodious

Grade: A-

There is something decidedly fishy about this convocation of terribly well-bred young ladies who became a kind of sensation two years ago, before they had even recorded a single song – and now have their first album at number one, a sell-out tour in the US and a Brit award. All a bit too good to be true. Do they write their own stuff? Are they music industry nepo-kids, like everybody claimed Clairo was?

For the first time, a glimmer of trouble afflicted them last week when a member of the five-piece band seemingly announced that people didn’t want to hear about the cost-of-living crisis. Cue outrage from the lefty music press. But don’t worry, they quickly released a statement ranting about living in a time of National Emergency, etc. Lots to dislike, then.

Trouble is, they’re not bad – in a hugely and often irritatingly mannered kind of way. If they don’t write their own songs, then they’ve found someone rather good to do it for them, from the potty-mouthed bombast of their first release, ‘Nothing Matters’, to the pre-rock, show-tune melodies of the title track and ‘My Lady of Mercy’.

Pomposity and precociousness are never terribly far away – this is what we call chamber pop, I suppose – but then so too are clever and unexpected key changes underpinning melodies which do indeed nag at the ear.

They claim St Vincent, David Bowie and Roxy Music as influences, although I detect the somewhat less cool Noosha Fox and Andrew Lloyd Webber peering balefully through the layered strings. They are already very big and will soon become a colossus. Yay, kind of.

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