At their worst, soundtrack albums are merely a few well-placed, dust-covered classic rock anthems re-packaged for a quick sale to dim-witted movie goers. At their best, as with the works of Ry Cooder and Ennio Morricone, they reflect the tone and spirit of a movie, become an extension of it, as well as stand on their own as a distinct musical statement. The soundtrack to The Slaughter Rule is most decidedly the latter.
Providing the emotional heart of the album are several score selections by Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo); seamlessly fleshing it out are new songs by Freakwater, Jay Farrar, Vic Chesnutt, Pernice Brothers, Cheri Knight & the Blood Oranges, Malcolm Holcombe, and previously released tracks from Ryan Adams, Neko Case, Wylie and the Wild West, Speedy West, The Flatlanders, and a rare track from Uncle Tupelo.
Taken as a whole, it is a dark and meditative album which also perfectly echoes the stark and melancholic setting. Look for the movie on DVD/VHS. One need not see it, though, to enjoy this striking soundtrack album.
"The quieter moments of the [soundtrack pieces] recall the finger-picked primacy of Will Oldham's better work, while the amplified passages evoke much of what made Tupelo's original juxtaposition of country and punk so interesting in the first place." Corey Du Browa, No Depression
"It is THE definitive soundtrack to emerge from the alt.country/Americana scene to date!!!" Tom Ayres, WRUV-FM