Petal's Magic Gone glows with the energy of a troubled soul
- Sean Greenhorn
- 12 June 2018
Kiley Lotz' frighteningly confessional second album confronts paranoia and anxiety
The only permanent member of Petal is Kiley Lotz, and this second album, much like the project's previous effort Shame, is very much the sound of one person's thoughts. Written as she reckoned with her artistic career and her sexuality, the album confronts the paranoia and anxiety that was taking a toll on Lotz. Whilst this focus is one of Magic Gone's strengths, it can also make for an overwhelming listen that sadly lacks in variation.
Many of the lyrics are confrontations, asking questions like: 'who's to say I don't care?' and 'when did it get so personal?' Lotz is exorcising her demons by facing them and allowing the listener to join her and the music revels in this emotional journey, as Lotz often adds power through straining her soft falsetto. This is done most masterfully on the song 'I'm Sorry', which slowly builds over four minutes of yearning before exploding in the final act as the song's title is shouted repeatedly over thunderous guitars.
Magic Gone is split into two halves, with the first, 'Tightrope Walker', written before Lotz entered treatment, and the second, 'Miracle Clinger', penned from the other side. Unfortunately, this journey is not echoed in the album's narrative arc, with many of the songs simply taking similarly sparse and / or quiet-loud approaches, making it hard to pick out an overall theme. This betrays the cumulative effect of Lotz' lyrics, which are undoubtedly poetic and almost frighteningly confessional at times.
As separate diary entries, the songs on Magic Gone are small but well-formed lights that glow with the energy of a troubled soul. Yet the album does not take enough chances, asking the same questions and repeating the same musical tricks, making for a fleetingly gripping but never wholly absorbing listen.