In the mid- to late-'90s, fans of Fastbacks-styled pep-punk and intensely honest songwriting found their personal Jesus in Sarge's Elizabeth Elmore. In that now defunct and defiantly direct band, Elmore took unflinching looks at unfulfilling love, pointing fingers at her exes, her exes to-be, and herself as the band surged and swerved through its chaotic, relentlessly catchy rock racket. It was a mesmerizing, one-of-a-kind display of both confidence and desperation that Elmore brings to her new band, the Reputation. Building on the sounds and styles of Sarge, the foursome's stunning debut is so great it's shocking -- a moving document of romantic and personal disillusionment that rivals Elmore's 1998 masterpiece, The Glass Intact. On these ten tracks -- which include nine originals and an impressive, despondent cover of Elvis Costello's "Almost Blue" -- Elmore's songwriting is stronger than ever as she brings on the noise ("The Stars of Amateur Hour," "The Truth") and the romantic revelations ("For the Win," "Alaskan") with an audacity that few of her peers would even dare.
The Reputation Review
by Jimmy Draper