Ceri Justice – Walk In Shadow: Album Review

Second album from Ceri Justice adds its weight to the musical legacy of Birmingham.

Release Date: 15th April 2022

Label: self-released

Format: download / CD

The follow-up to the debut album Justified (get it?). Ceri’s lifelong musical inspirations are strongly at play on the new songs so expect to hone in on influences that namecheck the likes of Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Sheryl Crow and the Stones.

She’s accompanied in the main by the presence of Paul Johnson who not only produces but adds a multi-tasking instrumental prowess with cameos from Marion Fleetwood on strings and DB Smith’s pedal steel that contributes the signature mournful tone on Loves Let Me Down.

But back to the start where Walk In Shadow is out of the blocks with a vengeance on the easy rock of Wanted where the knack for an earworm makes its first strike and the brooding acoustic The Creek where those Fleetwood Mac connections can start being made. The latter develops into a slow brooder, adding fuel to the comparisons with the Belinda Carlisle/Stevie Nicks oeuvre. Listen out if you will for the occasional Stevie Nicks quiver

Not that Walk In Shadow is all easy listening Rock that plows a lone furrow. There’s a lighter musical touch with concessions towards a friendly pop jangle, sometimes accompanied by some chunky guitar riffing, sometimes given a polished finish. Then there’s the title track – “the longest song I’ve written thus far” – make that longest and longing, whose historical flavour sees us travel back to Duarrigle Castle and Ceri’s Irish ancestry. It’s a one-off, a stand out track that shows the potential breadth of songwriting with the string arrangement particularly adding to the flavour. Watch out too for the backlash that hits after what hints at a haunting coda.

The story is brought up to date, having covered Steve Harley’s Mr Soft on Justified, we get the song she was probably born to cover, Jolene, plus her take on Eddie & The Hot Rods magnificent Do Anything You Wanna Do, the punk-y offshoot from the chart bothering days of ’77 that gets shifted into that chunky rock/jangly hybrid. A personal favourite 7″ from that period, Ceri does us proud as well as hinting at how the rack might sound if R.E.M had a dabble.

There’s also a JCC Remix that features the man himself (Dr) John Cooper Clarke’s contribution to an updated version. There we are, eleven tracks down the line with Ceri worming her way into the consciousness and then we get the broad Manc tones of the people’s poet. A grand bit of fun to bring closure to a labour of love that’s full of warmth and passion.

Here’s a clip of Cery & The Jury doing their stuff live:

Ceri Justice online: Website / Facebook / Instagram

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