“Half Alive,” the third single from indie-rock duo Hey, King!, is a journey of sonic melodrama and a good introduction to the duo of songwriter-vocalist Natalie London and vocalist-percussionist Taylor Plecity. The song, in fact, is about their relationship. London was bedridden for four years due to Lyme disease. Her relationship with Plecity changed everything.
“[It] doesn’t mean you aren’t a whole person outside of a relationship, but it wasn’t until I let myself truly be loved that I realized how much of me had been comfortably numb,” London says about the song.
“Half Alive” has a robotic, looping refrain about cold nights in bed, but switches halfway through for a more sensual memory: “I can’t hear you breathe and not / need to make you breathe a little harder.” London overlaps her vocals with the realization that “I was only half alive before I loved you.”
London first started her music career while at Columbia University. She contracted Lyme disease and two other infections, Babesia and Bartonella, while on tour. “During that time, I couldn’t walk, talk, read or write, I lost a great deal of memory,” she says. “I felt like I had a complete chance at a brand new life and everything from my writing to what I listen to reflects that.”
The single, reminiscent of duos such as Tegan & Sara, Indigo Girls and Coco Rosie, is part of the lead-up to their debut album, coming in 2021 via Anti- Records. The project began as an EP with producer Ben Harper, who also produced their first two singles, the introspective “Lucky” and the emo-acoustic “Don’t Let Me Get Away.” He brought them on tour as an opening act for Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals shows. Live, Hey, King! performs as an eight-piece orchestral band, but you can get a sense of their energy from the intense-though-intimate video for “Half Alive.”
||| Watch: The video for “Half Alive”
||| Also: Stream “Lucky” and “Don’t Let Me Get Away”