Chaos County Line is an album of fearless honesty that captures the unfettered emotional truth of Skating Polly, tackling themes of identity, disassociation, unhealthy coping mechanisms, obsession, deception, and gaslighting.
Skating Polly, the dynamic punk force born out of sibling synergy, ascends to new heights of self-possession on their latest double album, Chaos County Line. Produced by Brad Wood, known for his work with Liz Phair and Smashing Pumpkins, the album follows 2018’s critically acclaimed The Make It All Show, and just might be Skating Polly's most emotionally charged music to date. Chaos County Line spans 18 kaleidoscopic tracks, seamlessly piecing together elements of art-punk, noise-rock, and piano-driven power-pop. The album shows the band's growth as songwriters and their heightened clarity of vision.
Peyton Mckenna Bighorse, one half of the step-sibling duo, shares, “All these songs are the most special to me of anything I’ve ever written. In the past I didn’t always write with a clear purpose, but this time I knew exactly what I wanted to say." The album becomes a canvas for the exploration of the most challenging emotional experiences they've faced. Unafraid and fully self-aware, the lyrical content flows naturally, creating a raw and authentic emotional story, showcasing their ability to embody a whirlwind of moods within a single track.
The lead single, "Hickey King," encapsulates the band's multifaceted approach, with Kelli Mayo and Bighorse trading vocals and offering distinct perspectives on power dynamics in relationships. From the stripped-back vulnerability of Bighorse's verses to the sublime frenzy ignited by Kelli, the song captures the nuanced complexity of Skating Polly's storytelling. Among the standout tracks, "Tiger At The Drugstore" emerges as one of the most emotionally raw yet extravagantly composed songs. The lavish arrangement features bright piano lines, lush organ melodies, and Beatles-esque horns, creating a moment that mirrors the intensity of the emotions explored in the lyrics.
From the whimsical oddity of "Baby On My Birthday" to the punk delirium of "Rabbit Food," and the aching piano balladry of "Someone Like A Friend" to the deranged horror-pop of "Man Out There" featuring guest vocals from David Yow of the Jesus Lizard, the album showcases the band's versatility, concluding with the heart-melting sing-along of "Party House."
Skating Polly formed when step-siblings Kelli Drew Mayo and Peyton Mckenna Bighorse were just nine and 14. Over the past decade, they've evolved, joined by Kelli's brother Kurtis, and crafted unruly, subversive, and wildly melodic music. With Chaos County Line, Skating Polly continues to defy boundaries, demonstrating their unbridled spirit and true punk attitude.