[sic] Magazine

First Glances – Optional Wallace

Think Manchester and be it baggy, acid or brotherly you’re thinking about the past. Contemporary exports of note however are few and far between, the recent lauding of distinctly average acts such as Dutch Uncles , Young British Artists and (yawn) Delphic proves it.

The Optional Wallace three-piece undoubtedly hails from the same enthusiastic school, yet they also have something to say, even if their apathetic generation doesn’t – a point their politicised rocker “Generation” hammers home impressively. And it’s this commitment to tight song-craft and killer blows that stands the band in good stead.

Their core of intricate guitar, driving bass and pounding drums eats up spiky post-punk structures in “What Goes Around”, and equally lets fly punchy, Manic Street Preachers -like vitriol in the slick cut “The Ladder”. Crunching bass-work sets “You Will Get What You Deserve ” apart as an imposing new-wave monolith, and depth and range is added to the band’s self-titled debut thanks to the anthemic slow-build of “Can’t Explain” on which Manchester’s iconic grey makes itself all too known.

As a band name Optional Wallace is somewhat enigmatic, evoking at least a sense of democracy and, perhaps misleadingly, of claymation too. Whoever they are, whatever their agenda, Optional Wallace are at least giving the people something current to think about, having taken their cues from best parts of the past.

~The band’s self-titled debut LP is out now on Squealing Beagle .~