Jeanne Fury
April 16, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Chicago indie-rock debutante Elizabeth Elmore (ex-Sarge) has two reputations to flaunt. Known as an unabashedly forthright lyricist, she’s consistently reflective and astute. And then there’s her remarkable band, the Reputation, whose second album is muscular yet lush — a knockout combo of fiery rock and cascading grace. The songs’ varying textures complement the swirling melodies in Elmore’s pretty vocals, as she recalls heartfelt connections and fallings-out. Her fate hardly feels forced.

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