A self-styled "shit-kicker from Moston" Lee
Griffiths was discovered as a youthful soul prodigy by Paul
Morley in the late 90s and signed to ZTT Records. After
a spectacular falling-out with superstar producer Trevor Horn,
Lee disowned his debut album Northern Songs and returned in
disgust to civilian life in North Manchester. He finally began writing and recording
at home again in earnest while holding down a series of low-paid jobs to keep
the rent - and after five years 'ArmchairAnarchy' is the result.
40 years on from Sergeant Pepper, "Hippy Dippy" is
a sly, knowing nod to Sixties counterculture over an insanely catchy groove. "Scared",
recounts a late coming-out after years of denial. But the album's centrepiece
is perhaps the acoustic showstopper "Meet Me Halfway".
Lee's tender/tough delivery and aching vulnerability make him Manchester's answer
to Ray Lamontagne and José Gonzales.
Older, wiser - and back on storming form - Lee Griffiths looks more like a prizefighter
these days than the babyfaced waif first signed by Horn and Morley for his astonishing
voice. And as word of his comeback begins to spread, musicbiz movers and shakers
in the know have been stepping forward to lend a hand.
Ian Grimble (Manics, Texas, Wannadies, Travis, etc) helped produce
tracks for the new album. Take That manager Nigel Nartin-Smith stepped
in to offer career advice and pay for a full-colour photoshoot, while BBC 6 Music's Tom
Robinson has shot and edited two videos for the album, and Culture Club
producer Steve Levine has mixed the latest version of "Meet
Me Halfway" free of charge in his West London studio. After hearing the
album, Janice Long immediately booked Lee for a Radio 2 session
and GT editor Joseph Galliano has run a three-page
spread in the magazine's
July Issue placing Lee immediately after George Michael as the UK's
next great gay voice.