This week saw the arrival of a brand new video for Waba Duba, the new single from Swiss electronic duo Yello. It’s the first new music from the now-75-year-old Dieter Meier and 68-year-old Boris Blank since 2016’s Toy album, and judging by the delighted reaction the video has had on social media, not only has the duo’s re-appearance come as something of a surprise, it’s also come as a welcome shot of fun for many.
In the video, which you can watch in full below, the two unlikely pop heroes cavort around in a curious fashion, spouting gibberish-like lyrics – sample: 'Do you want me to do/Don't take me for a fool/I'm only happy man/I jump out of the can'. It’s silly, it’s infectious and in these uncertain times, it’s totally refreshing. Add in the wave of good feeling brought about by the UK’s current mini heatwave and the easing of some lockdown restrictions, and Yello could have another hit on their hands. No mean feat when you think that the last time the duo bothered the UK Top 40 was when Of Course I’m Lying reached No. 23 in 1989.
It probably helps that Waba Duba is not wholly dissimilar to the duo’s two biggest hits, Oh Yeah – originally from 1985’s Stella album but made famous through its inclusion in the hit 1986 movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – and 1988’s The Race from the Flag album. In fact, it’s a good marriage between the nonsensical frivolity of the former and the funky, infectious rhythms of the latter.
Formed in the late 70s, Yello were originally a trio, although tape operator Carlos Peron left the band in 1983, leaving just Meier and Blank. The duo were the first Swiss group to top the Swiss album charts (again, 1985’s Stella), and in 1995 the likes of The Orb and Moby paid tribute to them with the album Hands On Yello.
Musically it’s electronica, although frequent remixes throughout the 80s would find the band unlikely dance floor favourites. Prog Magazine featured the band in our regular Outer Limits feature that looks at bands who flirt occasionally with a proggier sound. “[Boris] blew my mind with solo piano renditions of Meddle-era Floyd when I went over,” the band’s PR told us this morning.
The fact that Meier is also a millionaire industrialist, gambler and directed Alphaville’s Big In Japan promo video in 1984 merely adds to the mystique that surrounds the unique pair.
For now though, wrap your ears around Waba Duba. It could just be the soundtrack to your summer.