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The Reputation Precedes Itself

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 6, 2006 7:56PM

Law school and rock and roll would seem to be diametrically opposed forces. Most of the law school students Chicagoist knows barely have time to go to clubs much less perform in them. But Elizabeth Elmore, lead singer of The Reputation is the exception.

2006_01_reputation.jpgElmore’s first group was Sarge, formed in 1995 in that hotbed of punk, Champaign, IL. After varying lineup changes and a decision to enroll in Northwestern’s law program, Elmore ended the group in 1999. A solo turn didn’t take and Elmore formed The Reputation. As she told Gothamist, the name was a sarcastic comment on Guyville’s habit of snarking on its female musicians’ sex lives, specifically her own. When a 2002 album received a tepid response, she re-enrolled in school.

Since then, Elmore has balanced both work in law (advising bands on contracts that may or may not be in their best interest to sign) and recording/performing with The Reputation. Their second album, To Force A Fate, came out on Lookout Records in 2004 to critical and popular acclaim leading The Reputation to come into its own (even though some in the group’s hometown are a bit slow to catch on).

And that’s interesting and all. But what about the music?

Well if you want blood, they’ve got it. The Reputation’s sonic wall of guitars (courtesy of Elmore and Sean Hulet) is uniquely Chicago but Elmore’s pleading vocals personalize the songs while the lyrics suggest she’d just as soon kick your ass than love you. Though the rhythm section has been in constant rotation during the band’s five-year history (now courtesy of bassist Greg Mytych and drummer Steve Van Horn), the power behind the songs remains a constant, leaving you with the same feeling in your chest that you’re left with after standing too close to a stack of Marshalls.

The Reputation perform at 10 p.m. tomorrow night at Schubas with Baby Teeth and 8th Grade. Tickets are $8.