One of the strangest little albums I’ve come across this year, Silber Records’s Make Some Noise compilation was put together in response to cheerleader-themed meme which has surfaced in the noise music community, featuring cheerleaders holding up cue cards of the album’s name in an effort to get people to make this sort of music. Every song here is based around a familiar cheerleading chant – specifically one aimed at motivating a sports team called The Devils, but from there, the artists featured seemingly were able to make anything they wanted. The resulting album has eight tracks that vary from being playful and amusing to almost disturbing, but surprisingly, the compilation is not nearly as abrasive as one might expect. Having heard several of these groups put their own, strange spin on Christmas songs last holiday season, it seems that they’ve toned in down a little in an effort to gain some listenership.
Electric Bird Noise kicks the album off with a thirty second spoken word piece entitled “The Devils Are the Worst” which is just a noisy, found-sound type recording of a man repeating the chant that forms the basis of the album. Things pick up significantly on “shout” by Fornever, a crisp but somewhat grimy electro-rock composition that sounds a bit like a slicker, less harsh Ministry track. Built around a resonant, doubled-up vocal, the piece has a fairly conventional lyrical structure, danceable rhythm, and distant melodies which screech, groan and moan throughout. Next comes Ted Johnson’s “Fire and Ice,” which has a circulating undercurrent and starts off with a spoken word intro of a woman leading a chant before swirling, gurgling guitar tones and melodies take over. Atmospheric and oddly relaxing, the piece builds into a relatively quiet finale in which the chant hinted at in the beginning is heard briefly before fading away. Philip James Fox’s “Grati-Cheer” revolves more explicitly and prominently around a cheerleader chant and almost recalls The Go Team’s first album, with trumpets, piano, and throbbing low tones providing a musical accompaniment.
Much more aggressive and raw, M is We’s hard-rocking “The Devils are the Best” delivers a sinister bass groove caked-over in recording hiss and feedback noise, with an equally distorted guitar providing a melody while bullhorn vocals sound off in the track’s background. Probably my favorite track here, it’s also the one that most falls into typical noise rock categorization. Small Life Form’s “Why Must You Haunt Me?” meanwhile unleashes lurching, creepy organ chords that almost come across as sounding like heavily manipulated crowd noise since they bubble out of and disappear into waves of white noise. The Band That Wouldn’t Die joins the mix with their comparatively lengthy “The Wool Woven Wolves:” initially, computer-generated vocals utter a repeating loop of cheerleader chants over hog grunts and a musical accompaniment of jerking accordion (?!) and shuffling snare drum. Around the midpoint, the piece is reduced to a lonely but calming section of almost ethereal humming guitar and melancholic piano, with a childlike vocal delivering a bizarre lyrical stanza. It’s ultimately a quietly unsettling and almost sad track, but album finale “Making Noise Destroys” by Baptizer ends things on a more energetic note. Repetitive and mechanical, the track is essentially a loop of pounding kick drum and almost indecipherable, evil-sounding vocals.
Running just 23 minutes, it may be the brevity of Make Some Noise that is its strongest attribute. Experimental music can be a hit-or-miss affair for many, but since none of this compilation’s tracks overstay their welcome, the whole of the album is palatable – and maybe even likable. Compared to the previous Silber compilation Broken Hearts, Broken Sounds, Make Some Noise might seem fairly small-scale and relatively low-key, but it’s another strong release for this consistently impressive, obviously imaginative and ambitious independent label. Well worth checking out if you’ve got a half hour to kill.