Review: Howling Bells at the Wedgewood Rooms

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On record the Sydney-by-way-of-London often have a woozy, psychedelic feel.

Live, though, the four-piece seriously amp things up – feedback is practically a fifth member of the band, bleeding between songs and drenching almost every number.

But this works well, lending their recorded songs a bite they sometimes lack. Somehow, the band have managed to locate the sweet-point exactly halfway between Mazzy Star and My Bloody Valentine – there is noise and power, but never at the sake of the tune underneath.

And frontwoman Juanita Stein is the band’s ace. Her voice can move from near-falsetto to a Patsy Cline-esque croon, with the occasional growl thrown in for good measure.

With a set that draws heavily on new album Heartstrings, it can at times feel like watching a band just starting out, rather than one that’s four albums in.

But a blazing encore of Broken Bones from their debut album, leaves the half-full Wedge in no doubt that this is a band with hidden depths. CHRIS BROOM