With its intelligent, nouveau-feminist lyrics and timely riffery, Elizabeth Elmore's mid-'90s Champaign, OH, outfit Sarge seemed ever on the verge of breaking through, but could never quite reach the success its critical raves would suggest. Elmore dissolved the band in 1999 to study litigation at Northwestern Law, but two years later the rock bug bit again and she recruited guitarist Shawn Hewitt, bassist Joel Root, and a parade of drummers to form the Reputation.
The Reputation never veered far from the formula of her former band, aside from perhaps slightly softer edges. Elmore's melodic, hyper-hooky indie power rock still teemed with flawed, fully formed anti-heroes and heroines on verge of multiple breakdowns, and stories peppered with polysyllabic words tossed-off nimbly, never for show. Unfortunately, also as with her former band, the act's following lagged behind its positive critical reception. After two LPs, a solid, but straightforward self-titled debut on Initial Records in 2002 and the darker, more diverse To Force a Fate in 2004 on Lookout!, Elmore posted of the demise of the Reputation on the band's website. ~ Jason Thurston, Rovi