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Album Review: Skating Polly's Chaos County Line
by Charlie Pecorella

Skating Polly was founded in Oklahoma City, OK, back in 2009, when step-siblings Kelli and Peyton were only 9 and 14 years old, respectively. In 2017, Kelli’s brother hopped on the drums. And now, they’re rockin’ out in Tacoma, WA. Negative reviews of some of their earliest work always bothered me—they didn’t see the vision. But the tongue-in-cheek, achingly riotous proclamations in “How Stuck You Are” off their 2013 album, Lost Wonderfuls, launched my heaviest steps through college: “Beautify me, your hospitality / Oh supersize me so wonderfully / Or make me happy / Pixelize me or paralyze me / Then terrorize me; no modify me / Is that too sassy?” Uncovering this gem of an LP through our station library is a found wonderful that continues to send me through great unknowns.

Finding myself in the thick of post-grad summer, Chaos County Line couldn’t have been drawn at a better time. This punk rock, hillbilly, opposite-of-elegy LP opens with an anti-invite in “Baby On My Birthday”. Welcome to the midwestern family of flailing arms, growing pains that release uncontrollable tremors. The terrors teaming in early-adulthood plight push Skating Polly’s songwriting over the edge, unlocking an unprecedented maturity for the band. Meanwhile, the ambitious, youthful, scraped knee tumbling energy that first drew me to Skating Polly remains an undoubtable force.

Skating Polly’s expanded sound nods to their grrrl band influences and past tourmates (see Babes In Toyland ref on “Masquerade”; “Listen to Fontanelle ‘til we both go deaf”), with comparisons to Veruca Salt, Hole, Beat Happening, and Bikini Kill. This impressive 18-track record, the culmination of five years without an album release, is emotionally vulnerable, while fierce and exciting. Electric energies exuding from “Rabbit Food” seamlessly lead into the steady indie ballad, “Tiger At The Drugstore”. And then, lean back into the fuzzed-out guitars in “Singalong”. Tapping into unexplored sonic pressure points, Skating Polly directs wildly charged currents in a way that highlights their playful, honest, raw charm. Chaos County Line’s tug of war between steaming punk tracks and indie ballads is a win-win battle for “ugly pop” rockers Skating Polly.