Emmy the Great returns with ‘Virtue’ 

Thought only emperors and tyrants added “The Great” to their names?

Think again.

All through college, Hong-Kong born, London-based composer Emma-Lee Moss was casually called “Emmy” by schoolmates.

She hated it. So much that — when she released her “First Love” debut two years ago — she added “The Great” just to abstractly emphasize the point.

And now, on Aug. 16, Emmy the Great returns with her studious new sophomore dissertation, “Virtue,” whose opening military-cadenced single “Iris” is already making waves on the Internet.

What’s so “great” about this throaty warbler?

Her intensity, for one. “Virtue” is no gooey set of lovebird confections. For a jumping-off place, she took a real-life event in her life — her engagement to an atheist, who subsequently ditched her for the church — and delved deeper into the imagery of saints, fairy tales and religion itself to create a lexicon of references she calls “digital medieval.”

In most fairy tales, she realized, only virtuous maidens make it out of the forest alive, so the longtime Beatrix Potter fan has created her own musical equivalent of, say, Angela Carter’s more adult-themed “The Bloody Chamber.”

Produced by Gareth Jones and embellished by her collaborator Evan Hinshelwood, “Virtue” has a whiff of vice about it. If you don’t think Emmy’s great just yet, simply wait a few months. You will.

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Tom Lanham

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