Hayley Thompson-King’s debut album Psychotic Melancholia, released in September, is one of the year’s more exciting rock releases, showing the Florida-born artist to be a formidable songwriter as well as singular vocalist. It’s also a concept album, grappling with Thompson-King’s criticisms of the treatment of women in the Old Testament.
Standout track “Lot’s Wife” finds Thompson-King wailing and growling over crunchy, ’50s-indebted guitar riffs, and gives voice to the nameless wife of Lot, who, when Lot himself was fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah, became a pillar of salt after disobeying a command issued by two angels. In one of Psychotic Melancholia‘s more defiant tracks, Thompson-King provides the nameless woman with a narrative of her own.
“‘Lot’s Wife’ is my take on the story from the Old Testament,”Thompson-King explains. “I think my fascination with her started when I was a kid and I watched the Bible cartoon story of Sodom and Gomorrah—all Bible cartoons are terrifying, but this one in particular haunted me. Now that I’m trying to put it into words, I think what was so upsetting was knowing on some level that this idea of free will didn’t apply to women. I relate to her defiance and I’m giving her a voice that’s my voice.”
A new video for “Lot’s Wife” visualizes both Thompson-King’s initial confusion at the treatment of the nameless woman as well as the strength she’s found in playing music. The swirling, psychedelic clip was directed by Aidan Daley-Hynes and shot by Luke Boggia.
“In my opinion, women’s freedom is a complete illusion,” she adds. “I’m certainly not a mouth piece for my entire gender, but I know at least my own actions and reactions as I move through space and time are fear-based. I think this fear is pervasive, but so buried that many of us feel it only on a faint psychic level. I feel strong when I play guitar and when I sing, which is the moment we tried to capture with this video.”
Watch the video for “Lot’s Wife” below.