“Some music gets it. Some music doesn’t get it. This gets it. This is fucking fantastic. I don’t give a shit about their age. Either music gets it or it doesn’t. And this gets it.” - famed music critic Everett True, after hearing Skating Polly for the first time, April 2015.
While still in middle school, Skating Polly recorded an album in their living room and called it, “Taking Over the World.” Today, it seems like they could actually do that. The band’s latest effort, The Big Fit, is their most fully realized collection of head-bopping, not quite sugar-sweet pop music infused with visceral, distortion-drenched punk sounds. It’s raw, infectious and inciting. It’s real.
Stepsisters Peyton Bighorse and Kelli Mayo describe their sound as “a little bit musically schizophrenic.” Their songs tend to fluctuate in tone and intensity. A whisper. A scream. A piano ballad right next to a punk punch in the throat. It’s all very “ugly pop,” as they like to point out.
“I love singing, and it’s really all I ever wanted to do,” explains Mayo. “One day, I realized I could make up my own songs and then discovered it was easy enough to make a sound with an instrument – even if I didn’t know exactly how to play it. Peyton had always wanted to be in a band. I love and respect her and don't have such a connection with anyone else on the planet. Since she was my best friend in the world, it seemed like a fun experiment we should do together.”
The experiment began with both teaching themselves multiple instruments so they could switch back and forth, with one providing drums and backup vocals to songs primarily written by the other. “The only reason we learned instruments was to write songs,” says Bighorse. And write songs they do. Skating Polly has a wealth of unreleased material, over 20 songs and considerably more if one counts 2 am cell phone recordings produced in the duo’s shared bedroom.
On their latest release, that mixture means the pop songs are more pop and the heavier songs are heavier than ever. “The Big Fit is a more intensified version of showing someone your favorite record, or your favorite book, or your favorite painting,” adds Bighorse. “Making this record has been like sharing a piece of ourselves that we’ve never really revealed before. Releasing it and having other people listen to what we created will be like letting listeners in on a real part of who we are.”
It’s been six years since those original living room recordings, and the band has released three more albums, toured extensively in both the U.S. and the U.K. (with their idols, Babes in Toyland), and turned many of their heroes into vocal fans. They’re even the subject of an upcoming documentary directed by Henry Mortensen (son of Viggo Mortensen and Exene Cervenka). What’s the fuss about? Mayo sums it up: “I think people can tell we’re pretty authentic. People can tell when songs don’t mean it, no matter what the song’s about. We try to be ourselves…and to make everything catchy.”
Produced by Kliph Scurlock (Gruff Rhys, Flaming Lips), The Big Fit is scheduled for release March 25, 2016, through Chap Stereo via Burnside Distribution.