Kingsway Music has been introducing many new artists to the worship scene recently. Now, after Chris McClarney's debut EP (the Introducing Chris McClarney EP from this past January, of which all six tracks appear on Defender), he is ready to release his first full length project, Defender, on Kingsway. Has Kingsway found a sensational praise and worship artist like Matt Redman or Tim Hughes or perhaps just another singer who will blend into the background?
McClarney's worship style overall (vocals included) is best compared to Warren Barfield only with less of a pop sound. Though there are a handful of songs that stand out, Defender's music is pretty unremarkable. The title track is just one of the many slow, uninteresting tracks on the album. The first song, "Your Love Never Fails," "In Your Presence (Sweeter)" and "Waste It All" all manage to stick out in an otherwise overly long project. If there was more variety across the fifteen-track record, it might have made the more lengthy songs appealing. However, when the songs are in excess of four and a half minutes and have little change, there just isn't that much incentive to get into the music. Even with the best up-tempo or bluesy portions on Defender, there really isn't that much that sounds like praise and worship radio hit material.
The positive side of Defender is that Chris McClarney's lyrics are pretty solid. While there are times when his lyrics echo common phrases and clichés, there are enough Biblically inspired (still simple though) lyrics to really strengthen his songwriting. Thankfully, in fifteen tracks, McClarney sings far more about God's attributes over himself. The bottom line on Defender is the music has virtually no effect on the album positively, but the lyrics are pretty good for your simple, garden-variety worship album.- Review date: 8/8/10, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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