June 2017


Emperor X
'Oversleepers International'
CD Review By: James Carlson

Alt-folk and indie pop singer/songwriter Chad Matheny, who tours and releases his music under the Emperor X moniker, has recently put out a new album, ‘Oversleepers International,’ on the Tiny Engines label. Arguably Matheny’s greatest collection of songs in the Emperor X catalog to date, ‘Oversleepers International’ is full of busy, smart, eccentric offerings that are impressively composed and executed, catchy as hell, and loaded with meaning.

‘Oversleepers International’ opens with the energetic and poppy punk of the politically important “Wasted on the Senate Floor.” Next, there is the alt-folk of “Schopenhauer in Berlin,” which is easily one of my favorites on the album. A number of standouts follow, such as “30,000 Euros,” “Tanline Debris,” “Oversleepers International,” “Low Orbit Ion Canon,” and “Riot for Descendant Command.” The only negative criticism I have of this album is in regards to the electro-pop disco weirdness of track six, “Warmth Perimeter,” which is very inconsistent with the rest of the record and doesn’t do any favors for the flow from track to track. Of course, that’s one of the things Emperor X is known for – making unexpected turns on the musical map. So while “Warmth Perimeter” is inconsistent with the rest of the material on ‘Oversleepers International,’ it is not inconsistent with Emperor X.

To my understanding, Matheny, originally from the US, is an expatriate residing in Berlin these days. But he is known to have the wandering spirit of a nomad and the passion of a true artist, and as such he has traveled all over the world sharing his music with the masses. Since beginning Emperor X in 1998, Matheny has released eight albums and four EPs, as well as a handful of rare, limited edition tour tapes and records. During his extensive touring of the world, Matheny has shared the stage with Thurston Moore, Sebadoh, Nada Surf, The Hotelier, Jeffrey Lewis, and many recognizable names.

‘Oversleepers International’ by Emperor X was released on May 5, 2017 and is available on vinyl, CD, and digital formats through Tiny Engines.

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