Andru Branch & Halfway Tree Step Into the Light

Andru Branch & Halfway Tree Step Into the Light
When it comes to making music, Andru Branch has always dreamed big. On his first two releases, the Halifax-via-Toronto vocalist has recorded with members of the Wailers and the Melody Makers. On Step Into the Light, Branch's third LP, and second with his band, Halfway Tree, the traditionalist continues this trend, joined by original Studio One musician Brian Atkinson on bass. Mixing roots-reggae with tinges of '80s lovers rock, Branch allows uplifting anthems like "Keep on Trying" and political laments like "Holy Jihad" to adopt a melodious angle, partly due to Halfway Tree's spacious pacing, accented brass and airy rhythmic constructs. The parlour player piano, quiet-storm sax solo and African drumming of the title track wholly represent just what makes Step Into the Light such a rewarding and fulfilling listen. Some may ague that there's authenticity required to construct good roots reggae, Andru Branch proves that authenticity comes from the head as much as the heart. (Independent)