Wings of Desire: Life is Infinite (WMD Recordings) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Wings of Desire

Life is Infinite

WMD Recordings

Dec 07, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Wings of Desire are a new UK duo from former members of alt rock group INHEAVEN, which finds them trading their previous project’s moodier soundscapes for cathartic anthems. At their best, bandmates James Taylor and Chloe Little tap into something elemental, writing narratives for life’s beauty and tragedy. They then weave those narratives into soaring and sprawling indie rock, pulling in equal measure from David Bowie, Krautrock, early aughts indie, Bruce Springsteen, and The Jesus and Mary Chain.

The band have released a steady stream of singles since 2020, which they have gathered in their new anthology album, Life is Infinite. The record, while not an official full-length debut, offers an introduction to the band and brings together the best of their early era. During these years, the band have honed in on a rewarding and reliable formula: big sprawling melodies, simmering synth beds, emphatic pounding rhythms, and heartfelt lyricism. Most tracks follow this formula, and while this does taper the band’s range, the record’s highs are undeniably potent.

The album front-loads a lot of its best moments, opening with a run through its most sweeping material. Singles like “Runnin’” and “Choose a Life” have been around in some form for several years but they are back on the album, remastered and anthemic as ever. Elsewhere, “Perfect World” and “Chance of a Lifetime” radiate warmth and light, carried by gauzy instrumentation and hopeful lyrics. Many tracks repeat their refrains like mantras, with the band offering meditations on life’s boundless potential and new beginnings: “I will try my best,” “It’s the chance of a lifetime,” “I want to be here now.” Though they sacrifice a certain degree of depth in favor of simplicity, the band excels at making these simple mantras feel moving and universal, rendering them with a welcome element of warmth and soul.

These songs articulate hints of the philosophy behind the band, exploring their preoccupation with the existential and their constant search for hope and purpose. At the same time, they temper these elements with ruminations on the uncertainty and confusion of modern living, the numbing lull of work, and the unseen pressures of living online. These themes appear lurking in the background of tracks like “Runnin’,” “A Gun in Every Home,” or “[The Knife].” As a result, the hopeful tone feels well-earned, as if it is a measure of comfort the band fights to hold onto.

The music here is also deeply referential. Taylor and Little have listed a sea of influences, ranging from musical touchstones to thinkers like Noam Chomsky and Alan Watts. “Be Here Now” shares its name with Oasis’ third album, “Better Late Than Never” lifts lyrics from Radiohead’s “Creep,” and the lyrics to “Choose a Life” are a distorted mirror of the opening monologue to Trainspotting. The effect is not unlike the evocative visual collages that make up the band’s videos. However, with their music they instead knit together traces of familiar pieces of art and stylistic touchstones, using them as shortcuts to the band’s emotive highs.

The band is constantly chasing these highs, asking existential questions of meaning, and searching for a purpose beyond life’s daily rhythms. “Runnin’” and “Choose a Life” wrestle with the grip of complacency and stifling culture, searching for ways to buck against societally prescribed roles (“Choose your life/Get a job/Find a wife/Fuck it all”). Similarly, “Better Late Than Never” reimagines the pains of aging as a chance for newfound growth and wisdom. These are songs that ache to be felt deeply, to pull on your heartstrings.

Occasionally these emotive crescendos lack structure, leaving you with songs that continuously build and peter out without truly letting loose, or meandering tracks like “Angel” that lose their potency in a bleary scrawl of synths and spacey production. More often though, they lead to moments of immense joy and deep catharsis. The chorus to “001 [Tame the War, Feed the Fire]” captures this best, acting as a mission statement of sorts for the band: “Burst into colors/This life is infinite/Think of all the years/Where I wasn’t with it/Piss it up the wall/Fuck it if you fall/Remember the best/Yeah I’m giving it my faith and love.”

But while not everything on Life is Infinite will entice listeners with an equal degree of fervor, it is not difficult to find a great deal to love. Like many anthologies, it may be best to take what you love and leave the rest. However, if you dig into the collection, you’ll find some of this year’s most joyous, inspired, and life-affirming music, the kind that will make you feel like the main character of your own cinematic drama. It is music made for sunny days, open roads, and endless vistas. As a capstone to the band’s first era, Life is Infinite works well, but it is even more exciting as a taste of what Taylor and Little have to come. I for one am looking forward to seeing how high Wings of Desire can fly. (www.wingsofdesire.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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