New Leaf Press

Scotsman logoThe Scotsman – Wednesday, 4 January 1995.


Return of the Natural-born thrillers

“I was always highly unfashionable. When people used to say to me: ‘Who are your favourite bands?’ I’d say Rod Stewart and The Beach Boys. Then fashion caught up with me, so now I’m saying Elton John”.

A man unafraid to cite Jimmy Webb and The Carpenters as seminal influences, Jeremy Thoms is continuing his quest for the perfect song by writing and playing guitar for Edinburgh band New Leaf. He is also currently burning up his turntable with George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, but that is another story.

Seasoned campaigners will remember Thoms’s previous band, The Naturals, snappy popticians who attracted some record company interest but ground to an untimely halt in the early 1990s. Thoms now admits that their proudly retro sound might have had a shade too much of the old “red London bus” about it for its own good. All the same, he has since heard aspects of The Naturals in a host of now-successful bands from Blur to the Boo Radleys and Dodgy. The Naturals had the right sound, but just a little too early for it to be commercially viable.

“You don’t do something that’s happening now, you do what’s going to happen next,” he says. “But unfortunately, by the time the record companies had got around to rifling this sort of stuff, the band had collapsed.”

With a new band and a copy of Glen Campbell’s Greatest Hits for creative inspiration, Thoms is pleased to report that New Leaf have so far had a much warmer live reception than The Naturals ever enjoyed. Written either by Thoms himself or in tandem with singer Andy Kelly, the songs on their new, independently-released CD, On Safari, cover a much broader range, slipping into country and western and making border raids on the dangerous territory that is easy listening. With this band, Thoms is determined that his natural impatience and penchant for experimentation will not lead him into missing the boat again.

“We’ve learnt our lesson this time round. My mum actually said to me: ‘Jeremy, you’re too impatient, you won’t stick at anything.’ So we’re definitely going to stick with this.”

Alistair Mabbott
The List
27 Jan – 9 Feb 1995


New Leaf: On Safari (Foundation)

Already, New Leaf have been compared with The Beautiful South – ‘lazily’ they grump. But while it is quite far off the mark, the comparison at least helps get one thing straight: New Leaf have no patience for rockist posturing. The only time you’ll hear an overdriven guitar here is in a fluid jazzy solo. Where Paul Heaton harks back to his soul collection – and why not? – New Leaf prize their Bacharach and Carpenters and Campbell (Glen) records. There are fourteen tracks on here, and too many lovely ones to single out individually. Too many stylistic shifts too. I imagine there’ll be at least a couple you could groove to. (Alistair Mabbott)