Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Jeff's Best of 2022 - #1: Pohgoh - du und ich

I was never an emo kid. Or at least not the type of indie kid that gravitated toward the sort of Bright Eyes/Dashboard Confessional/Saves the Day-style stuff (although they all have their moments). And while "midwest emo" is getting a bit of a tongue-in-cheek resurgance as of late, that was more my speed: heavily melodic, less screamy, not married to just one flavor of music. This also means that I missed the heyday of a lot of truly great bands I'm only discovering in recent years. While I was busy going through every Elephant Six band I could find in the early aughts, it means I missed out on Jawbreaker, on hey Mercedes, on Rainer Maria, Braid, Dismemberment Plan... you get the picture. It also means that a lot of these bands are either reforming recently (Rainer Maria and Dismemberment Plan being noteworthy examples of this) or putting out new music now, and I'm not only experiencing them for the first time, but hearing about them for the first time.

That brings us to Pohgoh. Pohgoh, out of Florida, flaired up and burnt out in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it three year stretch while I was still in high school. They broke up in 1997, and except for some one-off reunion shows, didn't become a real band again until their album Secret Club in 2018. With now more prolific output than when they first made a name for themselves with their third album, it's a time for many to re-assess the act, but for me, it's a time for discovery. du und ich was a revelation in an era of music where I've heard so many different efforts that it's difficult to really grab me to the point of texting all my friends and telling them to stop what they're doing and listen to this, but Pohgoh pulled it off.

The lead track, "Now I Know," sets the tone perfectly. Through the album's runtime, we get gorgeous new love stories like "Planet Houston," certified rockers like "Hammer," and statements like "Not Cool." The album runs the gamut, and nothing outstays its welcome. It's a gorgeous, modern, adult rock record and it's beyond brilliant.

When I say I haven't loved an album quite the way I love this one, I mean it. While it 100% plays to my areas of musical interest, it's so much more than that, and it's easily my favorite of the year.

Songs of note: "Now I know," "Planet Houston," "Hammer," "Not Cool"

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