ALBUM: Skating Polly – ‘The Make It All Show’

Skating Polly transcend genres with their eclectic melodies and undeniable punk attitude – aiming to take on the world with the release of their fifth LP, The Make It All Show. Formed in Oklahoma City almost a decade ago by step-siblings Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse, The Make It All Show sees the “Ugly Pop” multi-instrumentalist duo expand as a group. Not just by morphing into a trio, due to the addition of Kelli’s younger brother Kurtis on drums, but by expanding their already impressive sound, and flaunting their DIY punk-rock roots.

Opening with the infectious ‘Classless Act’, Skating Polly set the bar high for the rest of the record with politically charged screams (“I want better than that classless act”) offsetting grunge-inspired guitar riffs, before slowing everything down with ‘Little Girl Blue and The Battle Envy’ – perhaps their most poetic track to date.

‘Free Will At Ease’ picks up the pace with a bassline that defines the track’s power pop melody, before breaking into ‘Queen For A Day’ – co-written, and featuring guest vocals from Exene Cervenka (of the seminal punk rock band X) – a punk-rock song with a traditional punk-rock chorus full of raw emotion and glimpses of vulnerability.

Skating Polly instinctively let loose on ‘They’re Cheap (I’m Free)’, drawing their thrashing sound and ferocious vocal delivery from the riot grrrl movement – Kelli emulating Kathleen Hanna’s signature screech. Indie-pop track ‘Long Ride’ follows with duelling, multi-layered vocals about shitty friends, before tearing apart the misogynistic nature of the American frat-boy culture with future punk anthem ‘Camelot’ – “Are you upset? Did I hurt your little feelings?”

Continuing their soft/loud/soft dynamic – their more subdued, reflective verses leading way to drive and distortion, and vice versa – Skating Polly poke fun at the idea of “selling out” with ‘Hollywood Factory’; hooking you in with their sarcastic wit, before expressing their frustration with yet more shitty friends on the Queens of the Stone Age inspired track ‘This Vacation’. The final two tracks – the rhythmic love song ‘Flatwound Strings’, and the gentle, piano-driven ‘Don’t Leave Me Gravity’ – bring closure to The Make It All Show with their comforting harmonies, and prove that Skating Polly have honed their own, distinctive style.

Over five records Skating Polly have displayed maturity as songwriters, having grown-up producing music under the watchful eye of both their fans and their peers. The band wear their influences on their sleeves, crossing genre boundaries with their unique and varied sound, and as performers they just ooze pure unadulterated chaos. The Make It All Show proves that Kelli and Peyton have not lost any of their punk-rock grit. Skating Polly vs. the world.

The Make It All Show is out now via El Camino Media.

Ken Wynne

Photo Credit: Amina Cruz


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