‘Shame’, the last album from Scranton, Pennsylvania indie-rock singer/songwriter Kiley Lotz set Petal up as a project of deep emotional introspection that found its strongest footing in its most intimate moments where Kiley’s disarmingly high-register vocal was given room to roam. So it’s something of a surprise that follow-up ‘Magic Gone’ opens with a chunky guitar line more boisterous than anything that has previously graced a Petal record. That track ‘Better Than You’, however, proves to be something of a red herring as its burst of affirming power-pop soon gives way to a more downtempo, reflective tone for the rest of the record. ‘Comfort’, ‘Shine’ and closer ‘Stardust’, in particular, show a progression in songwriting that builds on an already apparent aptitude for slower, building numbers.
As with ‘Shame’, Kiley’s voice is the undeniable star of the show here, and producer Will Yip has honed in on this, bringing it front centre in such a way that makes an already-enrapturing vocal impossible to ignore. Across the album’s two distinct halves – the first written prior to Kiley seeking treatment for depressive and panic disorders and the latter written during recovery – she conveys a depth of emotional exploration in her lyrics that goes beyond even her previous work and sets Petal up as an affecting songwriter.