"Obviously, I can't deny the Roxy Music or Talking Heads or Paul Simon or Brian Eno comparisons," Wilder says, "because they're all pretty appropriate, I think."

Yes, world music references (at least world music filtered through the fingers of thoughtful young men with advanced educations) understandably abound. Throughout Cymbals, layers of harmony swirl over a bedrock of polyrhythmic beats while any number of remote, sampled stringed instruments cut through the middle like a young Edgerrin James. Cymbals' early-release single, "2080," for example, proffers lyrics of particular premonition and portent ("In 2080/I'll surely be dead/So don't look ahead/Never look ahead") above a series of sprightly strains. And that's distinctive enough for now.

"I feel like our attempts at sounding different are paying off with some of the notoriety we're getting," Wilder says. "I mean, for me, the only goal we have is to make stuff sound different. I feel like the way to be innovative is to experiment with sound, and see how far you can stretch sounds and formats of songs and still remain within the pop kind of formula."

Yeasayer: A comparable collective.
Doron Gild
Yeasayer: A comparable collective.

So far, so good. And you can bet that Mama Wilder — loud jacket and hair length aside — is some kind of proud.

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