Stephanie Earp and the Ex-Boyfriends ...Are Chasing Down Dignity

Earp's last effort, '99s Hey Action EP, was an engaging disc that largely kept itself confined to the limitations of the college rock genre. Chasing Down Dignity marks a nice progression: more assured in almost every way with quite a leap in production values. The band stretches out, importing some horns for a ska take ("Back to School") and taking a stab at a bit of honky-tonk on "Accidents Will Happen." Earp's voice was made for party rock numbers; it might sound a tad incongruous to hear her tackle something unbelievably dark or weighty. Still, I preferred the songs that hinted at a bit of strife and had something to say about relationship politics, such as "Silvertown," "Cryptic" and "Sex," which has a wonderful chorus the likes of which I've never quite heard before. (Independent)