‘Grey Whistle Test’ is an old phrase from the days of Tin Pan Alley. When a first pressing of a record was received, they’d play it to the people they nicknamed the “old greys” – doormen in grey suits. Any song that the greys could remember and whistle after just one or two listens, was deemed to have passed the old grey whistle test.
It’s also the name of an Australian indie band, Grey Whistle Test, who are set to release their new single, ‘Nylon’, on 22 January, an homage to friendship.
Singer Max Stanley, and lead guitarist, Will Sacre, started out in their hometown of Sydney writing campfire songs. They moved to Melbourne, where they joined forces with Jay Cutler in 2017, playing drums. From there they started putting on gigs around the country, releasing more music in their signature sound of sentimental indie and folk. Their reputation grew in the Melbourne scene, and they took it even further in 2019, curating their own festival with a line-up comprising Sydney’s finest indie musicians.
‘Nylon’ comes with a great music video which takes us on a road trip up Australia’s east coast. Filmed on a hand held camera, it’s the perfect match to the experimental style of the band. ‘Nylon’ took its inspiration from feelings experienced during the first Covid-19 lockdown, and the lyrics tell the story of when their car got bogged while on a camping trip. They were rescued by a local, whose advice, “don’t get rope, get nylon”, became a meme for the band, and has come to express the need to surround yourself with good people, and form real connections. Rope will unravel and disintegrate; nylon is strong and enduring. Grey Whistle Test’s folky sound will appeal to fans of Kodaline, and The Lumineers, and anyone else who loves a great story along with superb vocals and instrumentals.
Does ‘Nylon’ pass the old grey whistle test? We certainly think so.