As a listener, I always find it fun to hear a worship song that is not of the traditional cookie cutter variety. It's nice when somebody in the genre decides to take the road less traveled by, and do something different. This is why I was excited when I began to listen to track one of Chris McClarney's new EP, Introducing Chris McClarney. "Your Love Never Fails" was a nice taste of things to come throughout the disc; acoustic rhythms, keys where appropriate, electric guitar shots, a large dose of well-penned lyrical praise to our Lord, and a unique vocal ability. Nothing off so far.
Next came "Still Saving Me." An enjoyable, and again, very worshipful song, injecting an organ and guitar solo here and there to add more of a bluesy feel to it, but was still reminiscent of the previous track. Of course, it obviously would sound similar due to the fact that each is performed by the same artist, and so that thought was originally written off.
I was looking forward to hearing what "Defender," would bring to the table, but was a little bit disappointed in how much it sounded like the last song. The next three songs were even more disappointing. Despite pauses between tracks, the album sounded like it could have been one very lengthy song, which served as a recipe for boredom.
One of the main reasons that Chris' musical style seems different from many other worship leaders is his voice (think a pleasant combination between John Waller and Donnie McClurkin). The music itself is great -- acoustic infused with slight gospel-type elements (mainly due to his voice and organ). In comparison to worship leaders like Chris Tomlin or Paul Baloche, McClarney has a much more distinct sound and uniqueness about him. With such an appealing mixture of talent and sound to choose from, one would hope that the project would hold some variety, but sadly it appears that the only audible difference throughout the album is the songs' slight variation in tempo. All in all, this EP was on the verge of being a letdown, and was saved by the artist's talent.
Introducing Chris McClarney is not something especially exciting, and I can be comfortable pressing "stop" after the first half. I am, however, looking forward to hearing a full-length record from him in the future, and there is no doubt that Chris McClarney will become a welcome contribution to the Praise & Worship genre, and a nice change at that.- Review date: 1/24/10, written by Laura Cree of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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