by Golden Lab Records

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The totality of Edwin Stevens’ vast appeal as a musician isn’t usually something you can get to grips with by listening to one record alone. He likes to give it to you in bite sized, stylised chunks. As the alpha member of the Manchester underground music nerd set – a mirror world of the city’s explicit culture, where benevolence, good vibes, an active pursuit of self-doubt and a hazy absence of self-importance are paradoxically coupled with your usual countercultural aural fuck-you-ism – he’s played regularly in at least five completely stylistically unconnected formations at any one time since moving to the city from North Wales about eight years ago and probably more like 50 in total. The only people I know who haven’t jammed with Ed are members of my family and he’d probably jump at the chance if they asked him. You just can’t pin the lad into a corner. That said, ‘Disappointment’ is exactly the kind of record I always dreamed about putting out by an Ed-led project and only knowingly incongruously titled in the sense that it might be a response to the arrogance fundamental to Manchester’s depressingly irrepressible musical heritage. It’s a unification of everything he’s been brilliant at within various contexts. I love to see him ecstatically ripping it up ostrich freestyle in Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura, Zweiters and Yerba Mansa. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want him to sing me beautiful sincere Irma songs of apology and regret or slaughter his guitar like it’s an opponent in a Wrestlemania contest, like he does in Klaus Kinski. All those normally disparate elements coalesce on this wondrously weird, hypnotic, earnest, outer limits rock record, which is why I was so bloody keen to put it out when he first played it to me in his kitchen last autumn. Not that he’d have struggled to get anyone else to do it. Listen to the thing – it’s ruddy sublime, which makes his one word sign-off on the sleeve notes all the more annoying: ‘Sorry,’ he says. Pfft! — Nick Mitchell, Dec 24th 2014