Like those of countless delirious rockers from Seattle or Portland, the trio's self-titled debut makes a persuasive bid for the merits of going far, far away -- if only to the intimate retreat of the chemically refined imagination. But unlike the zoned-out and disgruntled dispositions of the heroin hounds, Quagmire's midtempo, post-grunge pop is buoyed by almost sunny, cannabis-soaked layers of psychedelic six-strings and effects-doused melodies. Vocalists Craig Sutter and James Sederberg often seem like they're singing from some distant pastoral place, comfortably removed from urban squall. Lyrics of tunes like the languid creeper "Into the Ocean" ("Climb down into the ocean/ It feels all right, I don't mind at all") and "Spinning Webs" ("We've been lost inside this dream") bear out this yen to disappear into the solace of the permanent vacation. And yet, a curious optimism ("Nothing Fades") belies the despair that often pulses at the core of such mind-numbing ventures. For Quagmire, the chimerical journey is the one that matters.
-- Sam Prestianni
Quagmire performs Wednesday, June 24, at 9 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom). Sourpuss opens; Storm & Her Dirty Mouth headline. Tickets are $5; call 255-0333.