Andru Branch The Only Constant

When he’s not backing up artists such as Vybz Kartel and Sean Paul on percussion, Andru Branch is leading his band, Halfway Tree, in some of the rootsiest bottom heavy music ever to come out of the Great White North. The Only Constant, Branch’s second outing, is nothing less than stunning. Recorded in Kingston with Ziggy Marley’s rhythm section, it brims with the kind of reggae minted before dancehall came in to "run tings.” This is sure to win him fans from the nostalgic crowd worldwide, who will shout a "forward” to the album’s centrepiece: "Bring Back Real Reggae Music” (I wonder what Vybz Kartel thinks of that?). Branch’s understated singing sweetens the sound and leaves plenty of room for top ranking instrumental goodness, such as the thundering bass line on "Ease off the Pressure.” Unique flavours, such as a droning sitar on "Running into a Corner,” the country swagger on "Get Over You” and fusions with hi-life on "Mdamfu” only serve to add depth to the record’s scope. With The Only Constant, Andru Branch will quickly find himself on his way to becoming one of Canada’s top reggae artists. (Independent)