It’s been two years since First Love, the full-length debut of Emma-Lee Moss, better known as the stage name/would-be conqueror Emmy the Great. Since then, the London singer-songwriter became engaged, only to subsequently split with her fiancée after he discovered religion. It’s the sort of devastating break-up that just begs to be turned into some songs, but Moss reportedly did not want her upcoming album Virtue to be all about her and instead adapts myths, fairy tales, and the idea of dinosaur sex.
“A Woman, A Woman, A Century of Sleep” offers the first glimpse at the grand ambition of Virtue. Paired with famed producer Gareth Jones (Grizzly Bear, Depeche Mode, etc.), Moss and company have fleshed out their sound in a big way. The bittersweet melodies and astute lyrics from First Love are back, but the folky, lo-fi stylings have been given a lush, cinematic makeover, complete with a soaring church choir. On “A Woman, A Woman, A Century of Sleep,” Emmy the Great has turned great loss into a strikingly affecting lament that comes across as a fairy tale where there is no happily ever after. If “Century of Sleep” is any indication, then Virtue will not be another sophomore slumper.