Over the past decade, few artists have embodied the unbridled freedom of punk like Skating Polly. Formed when stepsisters Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse were just nine and 13, the Oklahoma-bred band have channeled their chameleonic musicality into a sound they call “ugly-pop,” unruly and subversive and wildly melodic. With Kelli’s brother Kurtis Mayo joining on drums in 2017, they’ve also built a close-knit community of fans while earning the admiration of their musical forebears, a feat that’s found them collaborating with icons like X’s Exene Cervenka and Beat Happening’s Calvin Johnson, touring with Babes In Toyland, and starring as the subject of a feature-length documentary.
On their double album Chaos County Line, Skating Polly reach a whole new level of self-possession, ultimately sharing their most expansive and emotionally powerful work to date.
The follow-up to 2018’s The Make It All Show, Chaos County Line finds Skating Polly working again with Brad Wood, the acclaimed producer behind indie-rock classics like Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville. As their songs journey from art-punk to noise-rock to piano-driven power-pop, the band matches that musical complexity with a sharply honed narrative voice that manifests in countless forms (ultravivid poetry, diary-like confession, fearlessly detailed storytelling, etc.).
Not only the outcome of their constant growth as songwriters, Chaos County Line’s scope and depth has much to do with Skating Polly’s newly heightened clarity of vision.