Emperor X: Western Teleport Review
Now that we’re officially in a post-Loutallica world, I almost thought for a second as I opened the CD to the latest album from Emperor X that it might be a collaboration between Norwegian black metal band Emperor and classic LA punk band X. Emperor X is the project of songwriter C.R. Matheny. Since the late 90s, Matheny has released records as Emperor X, and Western Teleport is his 5th official full-length. Besides the standard release on Vinyl and CD by his current label home Bar/None, Matheny has been looking for creative ways to release material, including burying cassette tapes and posting GPS coordinates to his website.
“Erica Western Teleport” hits it epic pop notes immediately, and a drum machine beat erupts into a chorus of synth and bells. Emperor X is that nerdy pop music that isn’t afraid to drop a Battlestar Galactica reference in the first line. “Canada Day” continues this as an acoustic guitar song. “I’d rather live in my basement” sings in the chorus to a romantic tale of throwing bricks through windows and running from the cops. Western Teleport continues to keep things changing from song to song, from the brief acoustic guitar tape recording of “The Magnetic Media Storage Practices Of Rural Pakistan” to “Defiance (For Elise Sunderhuse),” a full band frantic rocker. A swirl of delayed voices and sounds open “Allahu Akbar,” which then kicks into one of the album’s most compelling rockers, which happens to be about paramilitary religious fanatics. Matheny mixes things up again for the piano ballad “Compressor Repair,” another rocker, and then “Erica Western Teleport Geiger Counter” closes things with a drum machine and acoustic guitar.
Western Teleport is a great collection of lo-fi pop tunes reminiscent of the Mountain Goats and Superchunk at times. Hopefully, this will be the breakthrough Matheny needs to bring into indie rock stardom.
Writer / photographer / Reviler co-founder