Elizabeth Elmore says her honest, acerbic relationship songs are not autobiographical, which is good news for fans who crave her tortured testimonials while fearing for her emotional health. On the Reputation‘s latest disc, To Force a Fate, Elmore parades a new cast of characters down the road to romantic ruin. Like Elvis Costello, whose “Almost Blue” the Reputation covered with class on a previous release, Elmore turns an empathetic eye to her protagonists’ plights without pitying them or depicting them as pathetic. The wronged women of her songs do share a defining trait — resilience — with Elmore, who battled back after the surprising dissolution of her promising indie-pop trio Sarge in 2000. The Reputation lacks Sarge’s speed — though with grindcore veteran Kent Stewart on drums, it has no trouble punking up its pace live — but it retains Elmore’s pensive, provocative lyrics and clear, confident vocals as well as sharp melodies that stick like grappling hooks in solid stone.