A coupla nice reviews...
Back in the day, Practical Stylists seemed like a sure bet to grab, at the minimum, a mid-indie label deal and thus get their fair share of nationwide fame. A second wave power-pop band, they fit right in with other like-minded '80s arbiters of cool like the dBs, Matthew Sweet and homeboy Bill Lloyd. For one reason or another, the band never took that big next step ... it certainly wasn't for lack of talent, however, or good songs, 'cause Practical Stylists had both in spades, as well as a decent stage presence. They have remained one of Nashville's closely held, dirty little musical secrets for over two decades now.
Thanks to the good folks at Nashville's Spat! Records, the very first Practical Stylists' album has just been released. A compilation of studio material and live tracks, Post_script is a great document of one of Nashville's truly underrated bands.
Practical Stylists had a rich power-pop sound with great vocal harmonies and whipsmart songwriting. Although they played everywhere in the area, both as headliners and opening for a veritable who's who of local bands, Practical Stylists' achievements were often overshadowed by better-known bands of the era like Jason & the Nashville Scorchers and Walk The West. I'd highly recommend that anybody that loves timeless pop-rock music check out Practical Stylists ... after all, it's never too late to discover great music!
Keith A. Gordon, All Music dot Com
Finally. While they were one of the most popular bands of the Nashville early 80's new music scene, Practical Stylists recorded output was limited to only a cassette single, a vinyl 45, and a cut on WRVU's Local Heroes cassette compilation. The release of this album, then, is long overdue and a most welcome treat.
Practical Stylists at their peak were a trio consisting of Scott Sullivant on bass and vocals; David Russell on guitar and vocals; and Jim Hodgkins on drums. That lineup is the subject of this compilation of studio tracks and live odds and ends. The group played energetic power pop that always got the crowd moving. Practical Stylists weren't pretentious in the least; they were all about the beat and having fun.
The previously released cuts have all aged well and are as vital and delightful as they were back in the day. "Swing Your Arms Around," "She's Got Lots" and especially the roaring "General Beat" are high energy rave ups; "Ralph," a character study, always reminded me somewhat of early Who; and "My Bed" is a melodic, introspective number with some powerful hooks buried within. The forgoing songs all feature Scott singing; the remaining three unreleased studio cuts were recorded during a 1989 reunion and are all sung by David. "Terry's Voice" is a real winner, and the others are solid, tuneful efforts well worth a listen. The sound quality of these newly remastered studio tracks is particularly notable given their age.
The real treat here, though, is the dozen(!) previously unreleased live tracks that round out Post_script. Here you'll find some of the band's best work, such as the should-have-been hit singles: "My Go Down," "All Around Us," "You Never Call," "Know What I Know," and "Buy New Toys." Pure pop perfection. There's also a couple of killer covers: the Flamin' Groovies' "Shake Some Action" and XTC's "Crowded Room," both of which surpass the originals. All of the live tracks were recorded at Cantrells in 1983 directly off the soundboard, and they have not been remixed or embellished in any way. As the album notes, if you were there, this is what you heard.
If you were a fan of Practical Stylists, this (reasonably priced) CD is a must-have. Even if you've never heard of Practical Stylists before reading this review, you owe it to yourself to check it out if you're a fan of sharp, smart, and catchy rock.
Andy Anderson, Founder of the Nashville Intelligence Report and a big fan.