[Single Review] SPARE PAGES – Illuminate

Spare Pages Illuminate-2

Formed in 2016, Spare Pages sees Lake Macquarie songstress, Emily Rex partner up with American poet, Azure Antoinette. On their debut record, First, Listen, Spare Pages brought spoken word to pop music, and in turn received a Grammy Nomination in the Spoken Word category. With the latest, somewhat special release of ‘Illuminate’, the duo has continued to build its sound into something even more beautiful, and in a crowded marketplace, Spare Pages are offering something new.

‘Illuminate’, which follows on from their debut record, hears Spare Pages deliver a heartfelt, soulful song that is written to inspire young women to believe in themselves. Due to the content of the song, ‘Illuminate’ was selected by skincare brand, Nivea to be the soundtrack for its Sister2Sister program, which aims to improve future prospects for young women, and provide equal opportunities for all, no matter race, background, or whatever else.

On ‘Illuminate’, Spare Pages demonstrate their uniqueness, taking an old song format (spoken word) and turning it into something new. Aussie songstress, Emily Rex delivers the heartfelt song lyrics beautifully, while US based poet, Antionette, tells a story, delivering her lyrics with an emotional and honest strength rarely heard in popular music. Together their voices meld with the music to offer the listener an extra, deeper level of emotion.

Unlike modern hip-hop / pop crossover songs, which loosely defines the sound of Spare Pages, Rex delivers a dazzling array of vocal acrobatics under the spoken word lyrics of Antionette, which comes across as almost combatant at points, however, the lyrics are delivered so powerfully, that they not only encompass the vocal acrobatics, but gain power from them. Although spoken word is a somewhat broad category of music in itself, Spare Pages have created a sound that will stretch beyond the format’s usual audience.

Opening with a series of encouragement,’Illuminate’ sees vocal and music meld soulfully, reaching multiple crescendos’ before we hear Antionette deliver her final words, and then listen as Rex’s vocals fade into a perfect farewell.

With ‘Illuminate’, Spare Pages have announced themselves as a Tour de Force, harnessing elements of beauty and strength to craft a uniquely captivating sound that allows the listener an escape into song. I highly recommend listening to the sound of Spare Pages.

Reviewer : Mark Henderson