While there are lots of party records out there, few really evoke the reckless exuberance that exists in the pre-dawn hours reserved for the hardest partiers; the brave and foolish few possessed of a combination of boundless energy and zero self-preservation instinct. It's exactly this feeling that Plague Vendor capture on Free to Eat, an album of nocturnal punk that finds the California quartet eschewing the sunshine of the Golden State in favor of something darker and more dangerous. An album that seems to burn the candle at both ends, Plague Vendor don't waste a moment as they rip from track to track, bashing out each song and moving on without looking back to assess the damage. Like any respectable all-night bender, Free to Eat moves quickly, stops for nothing, and, at a scant 18 minutes, seems to end way too soon. With every conceivable moment of their concise debut filled with twisting guitars, crash-and-bang rhythms, and frantic vocals, Free to Eat has an energy that's hard to maintain and impossible to walk away from, making for an infectious collection of nervy punk songs that seem to demand repeat listenings. Plague Vendor have captured the feeling of youthful defiance that spurred the genre's pioneers to action, and while their debut might not be long enough to be the soundtrack to your late-night antics, it's the perfect album to light the fuse on a night you probably won't remember in the morning.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney