Gig Review: Wings of Desire at Rough Trade

Words: Cameron Ling
Photos: Jade Vowles
Sunday 03 March 2024
reading time: min, words

Wings of Desire headed to Nottingham last Monday night, with the Stroud-based duo presenting a potent mix of life-affirming hits to an intimate Rough Trade audience...

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Touring their acclaimed first LP Life is Infinite, Wings of Desire consists of James Taylor and Chloe Little formally of INHEAVEN. Their debut ‘anthology’ is made up of everything you would expect from a band that pays tribute to the Wim Wenders film of the same name. Packed full of influences spanning from shoegaze to krautrock, and threading their spellbinding weave throughout all thirteen tracks, Life is Infinite is a firm leap forward and a taster of what the duo can go on to achieve.

The duo are no strangers to Nottingham, as they previously accompanied Nation of Language at Bodega in 2022 and were back on crisp Monday evening to kick off the final week of a long February.

Opening the set was Runnin’, which takes inspiration from early Arcade Fire to produce a beautifully crafted dream-pop song that could be the soundtrack to a summer of adventure and love. Taylor’s distinctive vocals sounded immaculate neighbouring Little’s key playing before the delicate harmonies between the pair are drowned out by glistening synths and pounding percussions.

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The intimacy and second-to-none sound of Rough Trade helped Wings of Desire truly harness its sonic capacity and made for an alluring experience both visually and auditory. Angels particularly was a highlight with Little taking over vocals reminiscent of Beach House, all while supported by a wall of ethereal noise before dissipating into ambience. Song after song, Wings of Desire continued to grow with confidence and infatuated the crowd before leading to the popular single Choose A Life. A galvanizing track that braces the listener to seize the day – the crowd responded by singing along and grasped the opportunity to smother the band in Nottingham love.

The swaying, encapsulated audience also enjoyed the anthemic, A Gun in Every Home where an animated Taylor stretched his vocals to embody one of the most affecting cuts on the album. Little remained dancing at her keys while layering the song using her poignantly stunning vocals, before fading out with Taylor singing: “Just give in to yourself."

Before the closing track 001, Taylor announced that the band may be back in Nottingham sooner than expected – it is worth keeping an eye on that announcement. The performance of 001 was an apt way to leave the Nottingham stage: “Tame the war, feed the fire, can’t deny the Wings of Desire." 

After this evening, no one could certainly deny Wings of Desire's meteoric rise in the future as they now go on to support Editors in their UK and European tours.

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