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Skating Polly - The Big Fit (Album Review)

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 Written by Laura Johnson

‘The Big Fit’ is Skating Polly’s fourth full length offering and, fittingly, their most accomplished to date. The step-sister duo, Peyton Bighorse and Kelli Mayo, have evolved since their debut, ‘Taking Over The World’, with these Kliph Scurlock-produced songs sounding bigger than ever, packaged with intricate melodies, rhythms and vocals that pack an enviable punch.

Opener Oddie Moore shows right out of the gate that Skating Polly are no longer girls, but young women with voices that command attention. Peyton’s guttural growl is a welcome assault and acts as an impressive counter-balance to her clean vocals, which are equally powerful. The same is true for Kelli who, at five years her sister’s junior, brings a bratty punk drawl to the fold.

Throughout, the duo exude unbounded enthusiasm, which is perfectly encapsulated 40 seconds into Perfume For Now when the sisters begin their vocal sparring. There is nothing saved for later, while all inhibitions seem to have been left at the studio door. The songs are all the more sincere for it.

Pretective Boy takes things down a gear and is probably the best example of what Skating Polly have labelled ‘ugly pop’. What begins as sugary sweet and optimistic - “And if we fail together, no that’s not really failure. And it’s an A for effort.” - soon descends into unravelling chaos. Therein lies its charm.

Cosmetic Skull, on which the pair namecheck X’s Exene Cervenka, the producer of their sophomore LP, is another that indulges their pop leanings and also brings keys into the mix. That development in their sound crops up more regularly here than on previous efforts, and most notably on Arms & Opinions.

Nothing More reverts back to dirty, fuzz-laden guitars, which beautifully contrast with the urgent vocals to set the table for Hey Sweet, which is reminiscent of early ‘90s riot grrrl and sees Kelli go full throttle. Morning Dew continues the vitriolic momentum, so much so you can visualise them spitting the words at you from the stage.

Across The Caves calls on the ‘ugly pop’ tag once more and, fade out aside, winds things down nicely prior to the acoustic, lo-fi closer Picker Of His Words, which ends the record on a reflective note and finds the duo occupying equal vocal ground.

‘The Big Fit’ is bursting with varying ideas, genre nods and, most importantly, raw and uninhibited talent. Call it ugly pop, call it grunge or riot grrrl but, whatever the label, it’s damn good and needs to be cranked to 10.

We recently caught up with Skating Polly to discuss the new record. Head here to check it out.


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