By Kristen Hawley | 10 January, 2024
Double Identity’s discography slides perfectly in with your throwback 2000s and Disney pop-punk playlist. Courtney and Arden Kurhayez blend lyrical angst and rawness with pop-punk that would make Lindsay Lohan from Freaky Friday proud.
Talking To Ghosts: Act II is Double Identity’s latest EP. With a haunting title and a release date close to Halloween, most would assume the tracks are about spooky, scary skeletons. But, the real ghosts are past flames and relationships that are six feet under ground with wounds that are still fresh. The only way to move on is to grieve and revisit those relationships by talking to their empty shells because an ex isn’t physically there anymore. Some people write unsent letters addressed to past partners, others scream and rage, but Double Identity uses their songs to capture the stages of grief of their relationship’s ending.
“ARE YOU GONNA LISTEN NOW?" is the EP’s first track and like the title, commands your attention, forcing you to focus on the story being told throughout the EP. This story follows the ghost of the flip-floppy ex that is constantly unsure of what they want and doesn’t listen to their partner’s needs. The fear of the unknown for the Kurhayez twins is littered throughout the song, posing questions like “are you gonna break me? Devastate me? Let me go so you can chase me?” Being with someone who is so unsure of what they want and goes back on their word is exhausting, especially when you’re the one caught in the crossfire and your feelings are the collateral damage.
“Your Anything 2.0” was previously released as an independent single but was also included on this EP. The main difference between the EP and single version is the vocal performance and instrumental production. There’s a lot more growth and grit to the production. Including it on the EP fits the overall theme to not only show the relevance this song has in any relationship, but to also show the pivotal moment when the ‘dumped’ can take their hurt feelings and channel them into the strength to not wanting to be with their ‘dumpee’ again.
“Fake” will resonate with the majority of listeners and hits this EP’s thematic tone of ghosts by talking about seeing through someone. “Fake” details the complexities of being with someone who has many deep layers, personas, and attitudes that are infrequently representative of their own. You see through the facade and lies, as you would with seeing Casper the Friendly Ghost, but despite how see through their insecurities and lies are, you never see the real them. Not only is everything that makes up their personality a lie, but their words are so clouded that you start to second guess everything as a lie.
“Honeymoon Phase” is my favorite track off the record because it’s a core feeling that everyone gets when meeting someone for the first time – you can feel the excitement and butterflies in the pit of your stomach. Everything they say or do is fascinating and every detail of them, down to their outfit, is intriguing. But as everyone knows, the honeymoon phase of a relationship fades as something real is built. When trouble rocks the relationship, that first bit of magic and unknown is the thing we cling to and want to go back to because it was when everything felt possible and hopeful; the other person was still a stranger. Every aspect and quirk of the other person is cute and exciting because we haven’t grown to expect, or sometimes even hate, it. Everything in the beginning of a relationship is an endorphin haze that you’re seeing what could be rather than what is.
“Rearview” is an unexpected and completely different track than I was expecting based on the title. I thought the last song on the record, especially one titled “Rearview” would be full of heavy guitar and drum instrumentals about leaving ghosts of boyfriends past behind and moving forward. I anticipated the song’s story to be about the anger we have that has hardened our hearts but propels you forward into the single life. I envisioned driving away in your car leaving your ex on the curb and their image slowly fading away until you can’t see them anymore. But it’s a much gentler, softer track about meeting someone new who takes you out of the shadows and darknesses of the tears, lies, and fakes. In other words, someone who makes starting over feel easy and possible. “Rearview” is about someone who has everything your past relationships didn’t have and makes it feel simple to be with, even if this feeling of simplicity is unfamiliar.
I applaud the consistency of tone and sonic production throughout the Talking to Ghosts: Act II EP. It feels like one, seamless story being told at a party to a group of friends when you all reflect on how shitty your exes are. (You know the conversations I mean where someone starts with “Remember when you dated…”) The tracks contort with anger, frustration, and tears of someone whose heart has been stomped on and pulled apart. Before shifting to an ending that might not be a guaranteed happily ever after, because honestly we’re never guaranteed one, Double Identity gives listener’s hope for the possibility of one.