I can safely predict that there will be very few singles released this year titled after a first century ecclesiastical heroine. For those who skipped RE in school, Damaris was a wealthy Athenian who converted after watching a sermon delivered by Paul of Tarsus in front of the Areopagus. Her conversion was seen as important as it served as an example of the wealthy forgoing luxury in favour of the service of Christ. The name gained resonance for Wolf when, researching his family history, he happened upon it inscribed on a wooden cross among the tombs of his ancestors.
Genealogy aside Patrick Wolf has attempted in this song to touch on lost love and the end of the relationship that inspired his biggest hit ‘the magic position’. And amongst the rich arrangements and swooning church organ piping its way through, you are forced to wonder if Wolf has lost his muse. It certainly lacks the vibrancy and imagination of the magic position, but considering its context that is to be expected.
The main issue around this song is its self-indulgence; it is a single that is far more important to the singer than the audience, and considering the majority will only have a passing recognition for Wolf, his travails will not concern them. However, it is not a terrible song. Some will find the repetition of ‘rise up’ an uplifting refrain, and the indulgence does not go as far as to rival Morrissey’s recent self-satisfied smugness.
The name Damaris means gentle or mild and kind, beautiful and smart and it is certainly gentle and mild. Some may even find it kind of beautiful in a certain context, but it’s not smart to release this as a single. It should have been left on the album for those that truly care.
Release Date 13/12/2009