25th Anniversary Edition of New Leaf’s On Safari – out now!

November 20th 2020 sees the 25th anniversary of the release of On Safari, the debut album by 90s Edinburgh outfit New Leaf. To commemorate this, a remaster with bonus tracks is being made available to stream and download for the first time, plus limited copies of the original CD being made available too.

Formed in 1994 around the song writing partnership of singer Andy Kelly and guitarist Jeremy Thoms, the band stubbornly swam against the prevailing Brit Pop, dance and grunge tide. Drawing on easy listening, folk/country rock, blue eyed soul, jazz, reggae and orch-pop influences, Kelly and Thoms wrote a collection of songs which attracted the attention of stained-glass artist (and Jeremy’s brother in law) Yoshiro Oyama, who agreed to manage the band and finance the recording of an album.
Completing the line-up, Andy and Jeremy were joined by ex TV21 and Bluebells bassist Neil Baldwin, former Fini Tribe drummer Simon McGlynn and keyboard player John Hall.

Recorded over August and September 1994 at Mighty Reel Studios in Edinburgh and produced by Steve Bradley, the band were joined by a plethora of guest singers and musicians to help flesh out the sound of what was becoming an increasingly ambitious project (at one point the album was jokingly referred to as “A Journey to the Heartland of Popular Music”). These included Rezillos singer Fay Fire (credited to her real name of Sheilagh Hynd), Thanes keyboard maestro Angus McPake and jazz saxophonist Jack Duff amongst others.

Initially released independently on Oyama’s own Foundation Recordings label, it was later picked up by Sony/Epic Japan through Oyama’s Japanese connections. Preceded by the Travelling Man EP (which features three extra tracks and is also getting a digital reissue), On Safari was finally released in Japan on November 22nd 1995. Twenty five years on it still sounds fresh (since it was never particularly of its time in the first place) and hasn’t dated at all.

The band’s next two albums Stereophonic and Panorama, both of which featured additional guitarist Andy Walker and a more expansive rock sound, will be reissued on their 25th anniversaries in 2022 and 2024 respectively.

New Leaf - On Safari