While Unapologetically Emotional, Magic Gone Delivers Catharsis and Exuberance Alike
Magic Gone opens up in a bold and shocking way, setting the precedent that Kiley Lotz has arrived and is taking no prisoners. “Better Than You”, the leading track on the new album, charges in with anthemic instruments and Lotz’s powerful vocals. In what’s been described as Lotz’s most personal release to date, Magic Gone runs the thematic gamut - covering everything from relationships to mental health, and even touches on how stressful it can be to perform in front of a crowd.
Sonically, Magic Gone puts out a magnificence that can only be described as grand. Lyrically, Magic Gone uses simplicity in a way that abandons the need to analyze the diction so that Lotz can leave everything on the table for listeners to digest and relate to. The album follows a clear arc, one starting at a time when things were were tender and maybe a little painful, the first track debuts that pain in a forceful way that transitions into “Tight Rope”, a song with an air of hopelessness that is described with the line “The truth is just a piece of coal dressed as gold”, a way of saying the disillusionment has come to a close.
The narrative of Magic Gone continues in a way that moves towards acceptance. It’s clear that Lotz put everything she had into this new Petal album, quite literally considering she constructed every piece aside from the drums. The juxtaposition of serious thematic qualities and a light -and at times, playful- sound is less jarring and more comforting. Somewhat of a light at the end of the tunnel. Originally on Petal’s Scout EP, “I’m Sorry” is likely the best example of this dissonance - though that might not even be the best work because this album just works. A track that puts forth a feeling of disconnect with pounding drums and light vocals all wrapped up in five minutes of upbeat distress that comes crashing down at the 3:30 mark.
Closing out the album with “Stardust”, a track that can be described as nothing short of magical, Lotz has created a blend of contentment and defeat. The 4 minute track builds into a rising exploration of “what if’s” and the lack finality that comes with the future. Piano is layered with Lotz’ lilting vocals as the song moves towards its powerful chorus where she harmonizes with herself, adding another dimension entirely.
Magic Gone can be compared to a number of prolific artists and their projects. The emotion that is expelled by Julien Baker or Mothers, the harmonies that are skillfully crafted and layered by Adventures, a fuzz that is reminiscent of Pity Sex. However, no one act blends all of these components together in the same way that Kylie Lotz does under the name of Petal.