Australian Rules is a 2002 film by director Paul Goldman, and this is an original score. Bad Seeds musical director Mick Harvey has done some interesting soundtracks over the years, but none as compelling or musically sophisticated as this. The film has a narrative of sorts, but its true concern is about the racial and cultural relationships and tensions between Australians and the Aboriginals. Harvey's score, fraught with pastoral, sonic vistas reflecting the land and considerable tensions for reflecting plot and character developments, is a sophisticated and moving piece of music in its own right. Harvey has considerable abilities when it comes to writing for strings and orchestra, yet his rock and country leanings are also present here, creating a deeply atmospheric series of short audio vignettes that are fraught with brooding darkness and shimmering light. He plays everything here, with the exception of the string sequences (for which he has enlisted the aid of a string quartet) and lap-steel genius Matt Walker. Tex Perkins contributes one track, "What I Done to Her," from Tex, Don & Charlie's Monday Morning Coming Down... album, which is Aussie country music at its best. This is a solid album and should give Bad Seeds fans something to hold onto until the next Nick Cave outing; for Harvey aficionados, this is one of the most welcome and satisfying recordings he's ever done.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek