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Various Artists

The Slaughter Rule – 2003 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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Most soundtracks are whorish marketing devices designed to ride the coattails of a movie's blockbuster box office receipts. The coming-of-age-via-football-and-a-girl film "The Slaughter Rule" is no blockbuster. At best, it's a sleeper of monumental proportions and the soundtrack that propels it has the same ethereally dusty quality. Credit the shimmering score work by Jay Farrar for setting the bulk of the film's atmosphere, but there's just as much tangible texture to be found in awe inspiring nuggets like Freakwater's heartrending "When I Stop Dreaming," Vic Chesnutt's spooky "Rank Stranger" and the Pernice Brothers's divinely touched "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?"

With Farrar's stunning interludes as connective tissue and brilliantly placed contributions by the likes of Neko Case, Ryan Adams, Blood Oranges and more, "The Slaughter Rule" goes well beyond the category of great soundtrack album. This is flat out a great album that happens to be a soundtrack.