Damp Matches has premiered their new single titled ‘Sweet Nothing’, releasing tomorrow. Damp Matches is a 5-piece multi-genre outfit from Norwich, England. With a unique mash-up of alt-rock, trash-hop, and anthemic indie, their sound would be as at home at a stadium concert as it is in a grimy small-town mosh pit, and that’s exactly why they are such a compelling band to listen to. They’re starting to make a real dent in the UK circuit with their contagious energy.

Their intoxicating single “Sweet Nothing” is their first release for 2023. It can best be described as an indie-punk anthem, recast in an eerie glow of moonlight. “Sweet Nothing” offers the perfect amount of nostalgia, pairing familiarity with novel melodic lines and a gradient of timbres. But, despite the bonbon title, “Sweet Nothing” has a recurring motif of darkness; the alluring beginning speaks of playing in the shadows, and the penumbra.

The intro, consisting of a whisper-talk with a backdrop of drums quickly creates a sense of disquiet. The individual knows (logically) that they aren’t truly alone, but everyone seems like a silhouette, rather than something more tangible. Immediately after the first verse, “Sweet Nothing” intensifies. The lead singer’s tender voice becomes gravelly, not simply singing, but crying out every time she gets to the punctuated word “I”. Frontwoman Helena Lewis has perfect diction with a punk-rock execution.

The driving, melodic guitar enters, painting a sonic landscape that is dusky, forested

“I can see it in my peripheral and
I can feel it steams up the glass”

The band’s tactile style of lyricism, which describes double-knotted nooses, and boiling trouble amps up the fervor. But the chorus is by far my favorite part of the song; the line “It’s too dark and you keep playing in the shadows” blends the feelings of the coltishness of a child, next to something much more sinister.

Damp Matches know that leaving space between the vocals allows each bell in the lily of the valley to get a ray of sunlight. That is to say that the lingering instrumental sections make the words that are said, hit harder.

“Sweet Nothing” is a pictorial gourmand single that, like a treacle, is dark and cloying.


In relation to the song’s subject matter, how did you arrive at the title “Sweet Nothing”?

One of the metaphors used in the song is framing substance abuse as a toxic relationship with a person. We decided to play on the phrase ‘sweet nothings’ and drop the ‘s’. Just like a partner would whisper the things you want to hear to you, you too tell yourself why you shouldn’t leave the toxic elements of your life behind. If you don’t you might be left with sweet nothing.

How would you compare this single to previous releases?

Even though the subject matter is totally different, musically we had seen this a sequel of sorts to our previous single ‘Choke’ as the writing process for both was led by our bassist, Will. Both feature prominent and driving bass lines and have a similar upbeat almost dance-y tempo.

What advice do you have for those going through their own bout of substance abuse?

First of all, I’d like to say that none of us are at all qualified to give any professional advice on this subject and if you are suffering from substance abuse issues then you really should be speaking with a doctor. That being said, the first step to overcoming these kinds of issues is always admitting there is a problem. I know it’s cliché to say but how can you work on a problem you aren’t accepting? Maybe seek out support groups and also don’t hesitate to let your loved ones know that you are struggling. You’ll need a strong support network to help you through.

How would you describe the music scene in Norwich?

Absolutely booming! There is such a wide breadth of wonderful artists all performing regularly here and the scene just seems to keep growing and growing. Pretty much everyone we meet is incredibly welcoming and just happy to support each other through, what can normally be, a pretty dog-eat-dog world.

Who are some artists/bands you’d love to perform with?

Honestly if you can fill out a stadium give us a call, we’re there. But if we HAD to pick a few it would probably be these – Wolf Alice, Nothing but Thieves, Royal Blood and Queens of the Stone Age.

What are the band’s plans for the remainder of 2023?

After ‘Sweet Nothing’ has been released we are hoping to finish an EP we’ve been working on that we will hopefully get out before the year is done. Also a tour might be nice but we’ll see.

Featured image by Tony Moore.