Album Review: Yelka – 1976

The Breakdown

...Only two albums in and Yelka are laying down some solid postkraut that will not disappoint. ...

Berlin’s most productive band – no less than 10 albums in three years is their mission – Yelka announces its second album release in the current season. We are talking about Berlin’s finest trio in terms of Postkraut, with drummer Christian Obermaier, guitarist Daniel Meteo and bassist/singer Yelka Wehmeier. After their timeless debut album “Nowhere Jive” we now travel back to the year “1976“, the title of their second LP.

Yelka are oldskool in their promotional approach avoiding social media, Instead they play residencies in Hamburg and Berlin with more international residencies to follow. Daniel Meteo is better known as the manager of Apparat, music publisher (Random Noize) and label maker (Shitkatapult), Yelka Wehmeier most recently as a bassist in the first line-up of Patrick Wagner’s band Gewalt, and Christian Obermaier, one of the most sought-after drummers in the Berlin indie world, playing amongst other in SchneiderTM’s band. Christian and Yelka played together in the Berlin post-rock band EAGLE BOSTON until 2013! YELKA now sounds much more brittle, minimalist. Which might be due to Daniel Meteo’s Magic Band-like guitar playing. But also due to the welcome absence of synthesizer pads.

When listening to the first YELKA productions, all the artfully crumbly bands of Post Rock suddenly come back to mind. The Sea & Cake or Karate, for example. But also musical harbingers like Captain Beefheart, Can or the electric Davis between Kraut and Jazz! Fun in the church-A&R Maurice Summen was so enthusiastic about the already recorded material that he spontaneously offered the trio a 10-album deal. So in 2023 alone, three YELKA albums will be released on Fun in the church. By the end of 2025, all 10 albums should then be released. The first album is titled “Nowhere Jive” was released on March 31, 2023.

1976” in this case means a strangely great time in (pop) music history, when Punk was still avant-garde, Kraut was already cannibalized by Art Rock, Disco was there but foreign, and Folk was experiencing a second spring! Exactly: dare more Joni Mitchell!

Add to that great song titles like “Hanover” (Hello SPD!) “Caravan” (Hello Amsterdam!) or “Saturn” (Hello Cosmic Disco!) – soaring between Prog and Beat. In songs like “Das Goldene Kalb” or the Interludes for in between we can even hear some Disco and the late Beefheart playing in our ears. Worth noting is as well the Fleetwood Mac bowing number “Petrichor” with Yelka on YELKA as the enchanting voice, which we would like to hear more often on future albums, please.

Check out: Yelka – Brasilia

“‘1976‘ is our Alan Parsons project album,” says guitarist Daniel Meteo about the finished work, that comes with an illustrated perfume bottle as the cover and a certain hipster compatibility for all times. Who doesn’t like to smell good all the time?!

Verdict: A delicate abstract intro sets the tone of that moment before a band comes to the stage and take their places and as ‘Rings’ fades the band begins. A wonderful post-rock/post-Kraut album with a cool improvisational flow to the performances, that gives the impression the band members are well rehearsed enough on the compositions that they follow the structure of the pieces, but move around freely within them. 1976 has a feel-good energy that fills one with an gentle optimism and has a wonderful uplifting quality throughout, even in its gentler moments. Only two albums in and Yelka are laying down some solid postkraut that will not disappoint.

The artwork of the vinyl record strictly limited to 300 pieces, was created by the legendary designer Bianca Strauch-Freytag (Kompakt etc.). Mix and master provides Norman Nietzsche (The Whitest Boy Alive etc.). Music & Lyrics by Daniel Meteo, Christian Obermeier, Yelka Wehmeier.

Track List

  1. Rings
  2. Petrichor
  3. Caravan
  4. Brasilia
  5. The golden calf
  6. Hanover
  7. Saturn

Available now: 1976 | YELKA (

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