The St. Vincent guitar line that inspired The Last Dinner Party’s ‘Sinner’

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The realm of rock music has always been dominated by men. In conversations surrounding the greatest guitar bands of all time, people tend to hail all-male outfits like the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd as the best of the best, while the contributions of women often go overlooked and undervalued. From Kate Bush to Belinda Butcher and Stevie Nicks to St. Vincent, there are just as many transformative and talented women in rock as there are men, they are rarely afforded the same platform and opportunity.

Those women tend to influence other women, too. It’s inspirational to see Ellie Rowsell proving her place as a formidable frontwoman and to watch St. Vincent nailing each and every riff, proving that girls and guitars are the perfect combination. This impact can lead to future rockers – including ever-rising stars The Last Dinner Party. 

Like many women in rock, the London-born band are huge fans of St. Vincent, also known as Annie Clark. You can find her influence in their carefully curated image and surrounding artistry, as well as in their music itself. Like Clark, they have forged their own distinctive form of art rock, characterised by driving riffs and dramatic swells.

“She’s a crafter of amazing songs and riffs which we love,” Emily Roberts enthused during a conversation with NME, as the band declared themselves all “big fans” of the art rock icon. Roberts even noted that she plays Clark’s guitar. Their love for her music certainly comes through in their sound, but there is one song, in particular, which was inspired by Clark’s guitar-playing prowess.

As Roberts explained, the band’s dramatic second single was directly inspired by ‘Marrow’, the second single from St. Vincent’s beloved sophomore album, Actor. Roberts revealed that the track particularly inspired her guitar lines for ‘Sinner’.

The song disguises its guitar lines under layers and layers of fuzz as Clark begs for help just atop, but they’re just as dramatic and driving as Roberts’ riffs. ‘Sinner’ is a much more polished and theatrical track, with clean piano chords and twangy guitars filled out by strings and synths, but the influence of Clark can still be felt amidst it all.

While Clark begs for a gentle mind and a spine made up of iron, The Last Dinner Party long for their souls to be cleansed and to dance in the morning glow as the influence of St. Vincent’s playing reverberates just beneath. The band honed a completely unique sound of their own with baroque influences and string sections enhanced by their image and on-stage presence, but they pay homage to the women who paved the way for them.

It’s a fine example of how women with guitars can inspire others to make the instrument their own. Just as St. Vincent inspired The Last Dinner Party with ‘Sinner’, the art rock five-piece are already inspiring countless other women to don floaty dresses, pick up guitars and declare that “Nothing matters.” Between a number-one debut album and a formidable live set, they’re encouraging young girls to get up and dance, showing them that their rightful place is in rock music.

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