There's a wonderful story of misinterpretation behind the name of California band Plague Vendor. The moniker was taken from the Mexican folktale "The Pulque Vendor Tricks the Devil." A street vendor makes a deal with the devil and then gets him drunk on fermented juice (pulque), causing him to miss the deadline to complete the deal. Plague Vendor's new album feels like it's trying to hoodwink you in a similar way.
Free to Eat balances two very different vibes: one of a fun, alcohol-soaked night at the bar and one of a tequila-fueled Grand Theft Auto-style crime spree. The punchy "Garden Lanterns" would be a perfect fit on Team Band's Vodka Thieves, while the 20-second intro scream and surfy guitars on "My Tongue Is So Treacherous" are reminiscent of the Pugs, a Japanese art-punk band from the '90s. In a record store run by genre-driven clerks, Free to Eat would be sandwiched between the post-hardcore of the Blood Brothers' Burn, Piano Island, Burn and the garage punk sounds of the New Bomb Turks' Destroy-Oh-Boy!
Free to Eat isn't about reinventing rock 'n' roll. It isn't about changing the world. It's a delicious taste of late-night debauchery, consequences be damned.