Tampa Pohgoh’s emo band continues to bounce back with ‘du und ich’ and shows no signs of slowing down | Show Previews | Tampa

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Last weekend, only one Pohgoh member remained in Gainesville after the band’s set for the town’s annual Halloween punk-rock bacchanal, Fest, which features dozens and dozens of acts from around the world. “I’m probably a little more beaten than the rest of the band,” guitarist Matt Slate told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. But he wasn’t the only one feeling a little worn.

Drummer Keith Ulrey wore a brace on his right arm due to recent tendonitis. Keith’s wife, Pohgoh singer and lead songwriter Susie Ulrey added: ‘I’m tired all the time so nothing ever really changes for me. But it was really fun to play the new songs.

Bassist Brian Roberts agreed that it was exciting to see the new releases so well received and that he was hopeful for next year when people would actually know the lyrics. Fans will also have plenty of time to familiarize themselves.

Friday via Spartan Records, Pohgoh is released du and ichthe Tampa band’s third album, and their second since reuniting in 2016. The 12-song release carries many of the same indie-rock sounds as its predecessor, 2018’s Secret Clubplus every shred of serious honesty, a diary page, from Pohgoh’s 1997 debut, In memory of Bab. This album, along with a single “Friend X” from the same year, cemented the group’s place as one of the most revered bands to come out of the second wave of emo.

The new album still has hints of influencing bands like Superchunk, Madder Rose and even Juliana Hatfield and Husker Du on the band, but more than anything Pohgoh has released, du und ich feels like the most realized, mature and aesthetically wide. set of songs.

There’s pedal steel on the record (“Planet Houston”), plus the cello of band friend Gordon Withers (“Words Are Harder”). Producer J. Robbins even added the Hammond organ on a few songs. Anna Conner of Baltimore indie-pop band Thrushes also makes a guest appearance on one of the album’s singles (“Weeds”) with Shawna Potter and Brooks Harlan of War On Women.
“It was the album where we said ‘yes’ to everything,” Keith said, “well, at least to try everything.”

The confidence and willingness to step out of the group’s comfort zone paid off.
du und ich goes strong with loud, dirty guitars where needed, and takes deep, brooding breaths where recovery is in order (often in the same song, as on “Hammer”). In some places, the album is a meditation. Elsewhere, it’s the kind of record you want to sing along to while sweating through an elbow-to-elbow crowd, which is totally juxtaposed to where the album first began to come to life.
“Du und ich” is German for “you and me,” the band said as they approached the album, “a feeling of us against the world those lucky enough to spend the last two and a half years locked away with a loved one.

While a good handful of du und ich was written before the Covid lockdowns, there was a lot of back and forth between Susie and Slate, who would swap GarageBand files, before sending them to Keith and Roberts who have added their parts. For seven months in 2020, the group – all friends since the 90s – did not see each other physically. This isolation was in stark contrast to the post-Pohgoh era.secret club life, which not only saw the band tour the east coast in support of the album, but also go on tour with Jawbreaker. There were even dates in Japan where Pohgoh learned that fans still enthralled by the lore of his 1997 debut were willing to help sell out multiple venues.

But the pandemic had another lesson to teach.

“All the stopping and going forced us to find new ways to write when we physically couldn’t be in the same room together,” Susie added. That didn’t detract Pohgoh from her normal songwriting process, and as usual, what Susie initially delivered often took a lot of turns.

“I’m surprised Susie didn’t stab one of us,” Roberts said.

“Brian is right, usually what I bring when a finished song is turned upside down by the band,” Susie conceded. “It’s annoying and completely exhilarating at the same time.”
And when Pohgoh finally got back together in real life, Keith said the practices were cathartic in every way. “Not just to play music together, but to be creative during such a static and uncertain time in our lives,” he added.

And even though the group is aging, it still has plenty of gas left in the tank and there are no plans to slow down. In fact, Pohgoh arrived at Robbins’ Magpie studio to follow du und ich armed with more songs than ever before. Slate also can’t think of a reason why the faucet would turn off.

“It’s hard to say. Hopefully nothing, for a good while yet at least. We’ve been doing this for so long that it still feels natural and right. I guess when it stops, maybe… “, did he declare.

Roberts and Keith always jump into the songwriting process when called upon, and Susie – who has continued her practice of writing candidly about life with multiple sclerosis – really only sees one scenario where she could hang up.

“Death,” she told CL. “I will never stop writing.”

Click to enlarge Cover of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay on November 3, 2022. - Photo by Dave Decker/Design by Eric Collins

Photo by Dave Decker/Design by Eric Collins

Cover of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay on November 3, 2022.


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