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Pohgoh’s Susie Ulrey talks returning after 21 years, playing through multiple sclerosis and more

The group's new album 'Secret Club' comes out Friday.
Pohgoh. Photo: Lucy Pearl Photography.
Published Sep. 12, 2018

Last week, Tampa indie band Pohgoh released Secret Club, their first album in 21 years; they'll celebrate it Friday with a hometown record release show, followed by an East Coast tour.

Secret Club is Pohgoh's first album since singer-songwriter Susie Ulrey, 41, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001, leaving her unable to walk and, for years, play guitar. The impact, to say the least, was profound. Whereas their last album, 1997's In Memory of Bab was all about "teenage love and being so stressed out," Secret Club is largely about Ulrey's battle with M.S., from medication that feels like "poison in my veins" to the shame of falling and frightening her loved ones.

Secret Club also — emphatically and on its own terms — rocks. Produced by Jawbox singer J. Robbins, it doesn't wallow in sorrow or meandering atmospherics, like some other emo albums. It's upbeat, loud and full of big, direct melodies.

"We wanted it to sound fat and crisp," she says. "We wanted a big record. And that's what we got."

Pohgoh's release show is Friday at Crowbar. Click here for details.

For more of our interview with Pohgoh's Susie Ulrey, click here.