Quite a year for the Optionals!
The debut album ‘Optional Wallace’ was officially released in March. We had been sending a few promos and did a few mail order before that, but Spring was the official release. Reviews were all positive, which was great, and it was noticeable that people knew the songs at the shows! It’s still available to buy from here and will be delivered to your door… Plus, if you order during January 2012, you will get a personalised, signed CD copy with four page booklet!!
Here are some of the reviews of the album:
Optional Wallace Album Reviews
Shortly after the release came the big event in the Manchester musical calendar for this year, Friends of Mine Festival. Neil gave an interview on BBC Radio Manchester (link no longer online), and the excitement he had for the weekend was justified as it turned out to be a more-than-welcome addition to the festval season.
We were handily placed in the Capesthorne Arms Stage, with real ales and a roof perfect for the typically-British festival weather. The gig was good, the crowd was better and a great time was had by all. We camped by the pirate flags, and duly drank the rum and sang the sea shanties!
For the rest of the weekend, we dashed around watching all the great acts by day, and had our annual campfire acoustic gig / singalong by night. And ate ostrich burgers. Hats of to George Borowski, Jo Rose, Dutch Uncles, Longcut, Mount Fabric, Buzzcocks, Monroe Hips, Beat The Radar, Yuck, Patterns, Liam Frost and of course Sam Gardner and the FOM team. The Charlatans closed the weekend in great fashion, roll on next year!
Here are some reviews of Optional Wallace at Friends of Mine 2011:
The Optionals played at Blue Cat and Bakers Vaults over the summer, as well as a few acoustic things (below is Neil playing ‘You Will Get What You Deserve’: Neil Acoustic), but focused on the release of the ‘Generation’ single in late Autumn. Things picked up a pace when Steve Lamacq started playing his promo almost instantly on 6music, and for a good two months regularly until the release date of November 7th. Steve labelled it a ‘Single of the Month’ and stated that it ‘Sounds Brilliant. Listen to it.’ Thanks Steve! Here’s his full verdict.
The single was released as a free download from here, with exclusive B-side (Can’t Explain (Acoustic)), and the number of downloads (and album sales off the back of it) was greatly appreciated. Lots of nice things were said about the single. Here are some:
LISTEN TO ‘GENERATION’ on Soundcloud Here:
<iframe width=”100%” height=”166″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”no” src=”http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F24448650&show_artwork=true”></iframe>
A special show at the magical Star and Garter helped celebrate the single release, which was very special. Big thanks to The Slow Readers Club and Mount Fabric, for their wonderful sets, plus all of you lot for getting down nice and early and making a great night of it. And to the staff at the Star for having us. Below is a review. And below that is a video from the show.
More winter follwed with a special nod to the Optionals in this wonderful poem by Phil Martin, which details the history of Manchester music in the past 30 years. Have a look!
‘Manchester Rocks’ by Phil Martin
Finally, 2011 ended with the album ‘Optional Wallace’ being included in this Canadian website’s top 25 albums of the year, alongside the likes of Wild Beasts and British Sea Power! “A searing effect that British indie rock hasn’t had in years or, depending on whom you ask, decades.”
Happy New Year!
Wallace HQ is already very busy with plans for 2012 so keep up-to-date via www.optionalwallace.com – plus you can stay in tough on Twitter / Soundcloud / Facebook Page as well!