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Olivia Hellman - Prove It! (self-released)

24 February 2024

Anyone who has wilfully taken on the task of covering Kate Bush is obviously an artist with not just talent but the balls to match. You do not go gently into that hallowed ground. But Olivia Hellman’s take on the iconic “Babooshka” is a masterful balance of tribute and originality, and anyone who can do that with such a well known song is an artist who needs further investigation.

So I find myself dropping the virtual needle on “Prove It!,” her latest release. And what a corker it proves to be. Running on a punky swagger and indie-rock riffs, attitude-infused lyrics and incendiary guitar salvos, it is an excellent slice of snarling pop meets wilfully aloof rock and roll…in the sense that almost everything is either pop or rock and roll.

I wouldn’t say that this is punk rock for the Gen Z’s, but it does remind me of that same middle finger salute that those disenfranchised early punks aimed at the convention do have the same spirit of rebellion and hostility. Actually, I might say that, if you caught me on the right day.

But for this song, at least, the rebellion is a small-town, personal one, the story of a girl getting her own back on the haters, turning the tables and getting revenge on those who tried to knock her down. A personal sonic revolution, a chance to storm the barricades and pull the rug out from under the feet of those who need to be brought down a peg or two, if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor.

Sound familiar? Punk, by any other name, would smell as sweet…not to mention edgy, incendiary, addictive, spirited, subversive etc etc…