If you listen closely to Vinegar's music you might catch a hint of Barnum & Bailey or perhaps Cirque du Soleil. Like these established acts, Vinegar is dazzling, colorful, and well orchestrated. You can hear it in Francis' childlike voice and in their regular instrumental acrobatics. And when it's needed they're not afraid to breathe fire. Vinegar incorporated several traditional indie rock elements into their sound but with their flashy and complex arrangements it sounds like they ran off to join the circus.
Rock Fetish, Vinegar's debut album, builds on the circus rock tradition. It presents a parade of images that include sunshine guns, cowboy rides, and a host of strange animals led by your ringmaster, Jerry Springer. The variety is astounding. It mixes personal with aggressive songs and conventional with unconventional arrangements. There's even a surprise solo acoustic song, 'Useless', and the bittersweet semi-acoustic 'Breathe Again'. These contrast with the heavy instrumental fireworks of 'Pig 92' and 'Sunshine Gun'. The sequencing of the songs keeps the listener engaged all the way through starting with the stunning 'Forkball' and ending with the five and a half minute epic, 'Too Many Pills'. Each song is its own musical moment. But the variety is balanced with a consistent approach to melody and an edginess that keeps it all grounded and cohesive.
Vinegar is a quartet of experienced post-hipsters from Portland, OR. They have influences ranging from XTC and Ned's Atomic Dustbin to The Wipers and Foo Fighters. Over the course of 2004 they thoroughly beat the crap out of their songs, their instruments, and each other to create the self-recorded Rock Fetish.