LA-based pop duo KTJ & CARLY have finally ended our interminable wait for a body of work with the release of their brand new project “Identity”. If you’ve been following the pair along with us, you’ll be familiar with their tracks “Enable Me” and “Almost True” which make up tracks 3 and 6 on this EP respectively.
The sister-sister duo has been hard at work, even amidst the pandemic performing for the virtual Pridefest, and their own late-night sessions, “Late Night Live.”
Their latest project offering feels like a real coming of age, defining exactly where they want to position themselves as fast-emerging pop stars. “Identity” forthrightly explores the journey of learning to love yourself while being pressured by outside influences.
“Sell Your Soul” was a gripping opener which I really appreciated for its unexpected textural changes. The gaps in the song’s melody created space to appreciate the clarity of Carly’s upper register. The ending voice note added a nice layer of context to the track’s storyline, which focused on calling out the adverse impact of social media on our mental health.
Transitioning fluidly into “Let Me In” the mood is airy and a little less dark. While the tempo didn’t increase dramatically the pair upped the intensity of the percussion which in turn made the song feel a little happier and more upbeat. There was a clear reggaeton influence in the hook, but the part of the song that particularly caught my attention was the beat switch after the second chorus which saw the pair veer off into an almost rap-inspired melody.
This track was a primary example of the duo’s growth seeing them push themselves to experiment with genres outside of their usual soundscape.
Similarly on, “Someone you like” KTJ & CARLY stepped away from the synth and electric keyboard combo for a more guitar-centered track about the importance of knowing yourself instead of impressing someone else.
“Dead person talking”, a song which discusses dealing with depression, is where the pair pushed themselves the most with their production. Vocally this song stood out for its restraint as one of the rare moments where KTJ showcases the more delicate aspects of her voice. This was beautifully juxtaposed against the harshness of the electric guitar melody.
“Distractions” both vocally and lyrically was my favourite track from the pair as the most stripped back song production-wise. I was instantly taken back to JoJo’s first album upon hearing this song.
Not only were the harmonies enchanting but the track gave us the best of both worlds with Carly’s angelic upper Register and KTJ powerhouse passion. There was a clear soul influence on “Distractions” which listeners really got to hear on the bridge – the part of the song which displays just how well the pair support each other musically.
After listening to “Identity”, it is clear that KTJ & CARLY’s soul-infused take on synth-pop extends far beyond feel-good music into something more meaningful. Every choice the duo made from tempo to instrumentation was intentional in communicating each track’s message, a glaring indication of the pair’s attention to detail and love for their craft. The future shines incredibly bright for this pair.