Clocking in at nearly 70 minutes, Defender is a healthy portion of soul food offered by an up-and-coming worship artist. At a time when the prevailing thought in the contemporary Christian industry seemed to be to pare down, broaden the appeal, and strip out any semblance of character from the music, McClarney entered the scene with a "good ol' boy" voice and a gift for writing. Defender brings a warm human touch back to contemporary Christian music. McClarney does not chastise, nor does he pander or water down the message the way some artists are criticized for doing. He has a solid doctrinal core to his teachings, leaving the messages of his bluesy acoustic rock to do all the talking. McClarney is most recognized for his hit "Your Love Never Fails" from his debut EP, and it appears here again for those who missed it the first time around. It's an ideal launching pad for the rest of the album, but you'll miss out if you think that's all there is to this baby-faced crooner. He lends his inspiring, passionate vocals to arrangements filled with nuances of Hammond organ such as the title track and "Still Saving Me," while the softer worship moments like "Your Love Is Everything" come off with intimate energy. Fans of Southern and folk-rock artists like Corey Crowder, Mike Farris, and Julian Drive will enjoy these all-American proclamations of faith.
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AllMusic Review by Jared Johnson