Skating Polly (Featuring Louise Post & Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt)’s “New Trick” EP ****
May 4, 2017 | By ALLAN RAIBLE
Three-song EPs that clock in under 12 minutes are rarely as enjoyable as Skating Polly’s “New Trick.” That being said, Skating Polly aren’t a typical band by any stretch. Like Throwing Muses, the band was started by two step-sisters. The duo formed when the duo of Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse were only nine and fourteen respectively. Now with Mayo at 17 and Bighorse at nearly 22, they are nearing veteran-status having already released a small handful of indie-rock records, all along impressing with a level of skill far surpassing their years.
“New Trick” follows last year’s quite notable full-length “The Big Fit” and finds the duo playing songs they wrote with Louise Post and Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt. Obviously, for the kind of music they are making, Post and Gordon are perfect musical mentors. Not only does their presence here raise eyebrows in the best way but you can hear echoes of Veruca Salt’s extremely excellent 2015 album “Ghost Notes” within its framework. It helps that Brad Wood, who handled production for both that album and “American Thighs” is here also to help Skating Polly.
These three songs are all quite strong “Louder in Outer Space” is the strongest, showcasing a pop hook with a forceful crunch. “Hail Mary” favorably recalls both “Black and Blonde” and “Prince of Wales” from “Ghost Notes,” in a way, but stands on its own, as well. Finally “Black Sky” works with a slightly gentler framework but possesses the same kind of melodic charm as “Louder in Outer Space.”
“New Trick” is a huge step forward for Skating Polly. Sure, they have always exceeded expectations and have showed themselves to be the real deal, but this is a polished wonder of a work. It also seems to be the first release with their brother Kurtis Mayo on drums, which is a change since Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse used to just switch positions on guitar and drums as needed. Now they are a fuller band.
Post and Gordon’s involvement also speaks volumes. Not only in their encouragement of the next generation but also about the state of the reformation of the original line-up of Veruca Salt. Hopefully this means they will continue to release records on their own.
“New Trick” is a bit too brief in the way that it leaves you wanting more. Here’s hoping Skating Polly continue to work with Post, Gordon and Wood.
“Louder in Outer Space” Both this song and “Hail Mary” have been released as singles and given the fact that this EP only has three songs total, I am only choosing one focus track. This opener is really explosively appealing. If there was a song I could point to that had the potential to return guitar-rock to pop radio it would be this one. Peyton Bighorse handles vocals here quite well and gives it the kind of punch it demands. It is an insistent pop song that thrives on the “loud-quiet-loud” formula. It works on all fronts.