Singing in the Abbey, the Chicago chamber-rock group led by vocalist and pianist Annie Higgins, succeeds at the complex and tricky blend of classical music and pop while draping a gothic vale over its sound. “Wake Up, Sardis!” is the band’s debut record, released back in February, and it lives and breathes on Higgins’ deep, haunting voice and swift piano-playing. The band sells itself as a Thom Yorke/Julie Andrews hybrid, and as odd as that sounds, it’s pretty accurate. The string arrangements dreamily complement Higgins’ songs, and one of the best of which, “The Sweetness of Ophelia,” will break you in two with its sweeping grace. While classical piano, string sections and gothic shading may indicate a big production, Higgins and her team manage to keep Singing in the Abbey rather minimalist, simple in a good way, which is no small feat considering all the moving parts. This is music for those who dream under overcast skies. (Tom Lynch)
May 27 at Hideout, 1354 West Wabansia, (773)227-4433, 9pm. $8.