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Album Review: Skating Polly - 'Chaos County Line'

One hour and seven minutes. Eighteen songs. That’s the length of this double vinyl album. That’s a lot of time to spend with your family. I guess that’s why they haven’t released an album since 2018. However, Skating Polly is used to it. They’ve been making music together since Kelli Mayo was nine and Peyton Bighorse was fourteen.

I repeat – One Hour and Seven Minutes

Chaos County Line is a long album, and I have ADHD. I quickly get bored and can find many reasons to take breaks. Ask me about any of the Harry Potter movies or LOTR, and I will tell you that I have never watched any of them all the way through. Even The Dark Knight was a struggle, and I loved that movie. Yet, I sat down at my computer and worked my way through the entire album. (Yes, I listened, researched, scheduled some therapy appointments, looked up tours, and started writing this review, but that’s how I am with everything.)

The Review

The daunting part of this review was figuring out how I would write about eighteen songs. However, once I latched onto the time and my ADHD, I knew I had to explain how it kept my attention.

Listening to Chaos County Line

Starting with the intro of “Baby,” Skating Polly took me on a wild car ride along backroads that they know better than anyone. Quiet and scenic. Loud and chaotic. Yet, funny all the way through. “People like to whine and cry and tell me all about their fucking miserable days; well you’re not welcome to my party or my birthday cake.” The first song of this hour-and-seven-minute album gave me a glimpse into what it would be like, and humor almost always keeps my interest. So, I think I am having fun.

That was what I thought during my first listen, then “Masquerade” started. It is catchy, a little poppy. Radio friendly? Possibly. But “Hickey King” takes me back to loud. Am I going through Skating Polly’s mood swings? I ask myself. Yet, I haven’t seen anything.

“Girls Night” is dark. Is that a question? “All The Choices” is grungy rock. And then we get to “Booster Seat.” This band is all over the road. Am I scared? I think I’m laughing, but I am also holding on for dear life.

Kelli and Peyton turn around and look at me when “Hush Now” is on. They are laughing. Kurtis sits in the back and assures me they are always like this.

“Rabbit Food” picks up the intensity again. I kind of like it, but I also want to go home. But with “Tiger At The Drugstore,” I learn that “faking it doesn’t feel like home,” so I feel comfort knowing that these women are their honest selves with me. I am also thankful that we are halfway through. Yet, after the brief moment of truth, we are on a straightaway, and Skating Polly is pushing the speed and headbanging on “Sing Along.”

The following three songs are the moodiest, most emotional ones on the album. Vulnerability? The sweet moments that I love. They are no longer hiding behind the noise and humor. Wait. Who am I kidding? “Send A Priest” gives me that loud, punkish sound I want. Yes, I think, as the women start screaming for no reason.

“Sorry For Always Apologizing” is the other potential radio song. Although, I think it would still have to be an alternative station. I can’t decide if I like this or “Masquerade” better for popular appeal.

“Not Going Back Again” is the folky song when I realized Skating Polly is like that dirty house they mentioned in “Baby.” Like life has shed itself upon them. I see it in “Man Out There ft David Yow” and “Party House.” This band, this family has lived a hard life, but they love it because it is the only way they know how to live.

Final Note: Musically, this album is tight. Skating Polly is very talented; I will try to catch them when they come through Philly. Although I skimmed over it, listen to “Charlies Brother” to appreciate their skills. Follow it immediately with “Send A Priest.” You will understand.

Favorite Songs: “Booster Seat,” “Rabbit Food,” and “Man Out There ft David Yow”

Rating - 5/5 for multiple reasons

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