If you’re confused about what indie classical music is all about, this will either help, or confuse you more.

Jimmy Dority, who celebrated the release of his album “Jimmy Do Right & The Pop Go Boom” at SPACE Gallery on Friday evening, recently completed his composition degree at the University of Southern Maine, where his teacher was Daniel Sonenberg, the composer whose opera “The Summer King” will be performed by the Pittsburgh Opera next spring. Among the works Dority completed as a student were a string quartet that was given a public reading by ETHEL, the New York-based new-music quartet, and “Columcille’s Farewell to Aran of the Saints,” a dramatic vocal setting for tenor and chamber ensemble.

But he also plays in several pop bands, including Lovers of Fiction, in which the drummer and principal composer is none other than Sonenberg. At SPACE, he played a set that anyone walking in off Congress Street would have described as pop, but which had interesting complexities that put it at the genre’s highbrow end.

The second-billed group, Woodpainting, is led by Akiva Zamcheck, who teaches musicology at New York University and whose compositions include “La Mort de Cléopâtre,” a colorfully gauzy, angular chamber orchestra score. Some listeners, though, know him as the leader of DTROTBOT, a band that plays jazz-tinged rock. On Friday, he presented a mini rock-opera.

Young composers are musical omnivores now. They embrace all musical genres, and when they sit down to write, the results can be anywhere on the stylistic spectrum. Unless you’re committed to only a part of that spectrum, this is an exciting development.

For the 12-song “Jimmy Do Right & The Pop Go Boom,” Dority assembled a 21-piece ensemble, with strings, winds, brass, guitars, keyboard and backing vocalists. He recorded the album live at the Mayo Street Arts Center in 2012, but did not release it until last week.

The songs are a fascinating amalgam of his passions, molded into appealing chamber pop textures. Many have the melodic and lyrical urbanity of French chansons, tempered occasionally by a bluesy growl, the arch lyrical touches you hear in Randy Newman’s or Van Dyke Parks’ music, or the laconic semi-spoken style of early Lou Reed. Some, like “Never Wanna Let You Go” and “What a World,” use a soulful lead vocal line, supported by backing vocals and grittier scoring, to hint at a 1960s Motown influence.

Dority is also an amusing painter of tone pictures. His “Drunken Waltz,” which he played here and on a recent television appearance, is certainly in a three-fourth waltz meter. But in his vocal performance, he toys so much with the music’s accents that you couldn’t possibly waltz to it, unless, perhaps, you were in the condition noted in the title.

Several songs show Brian Wilson’s influence, something Dority has acknowledged in interviews. In both their melodic contours and the textures of Dority’s deft wind and string arrangements, songs like “Kitty” and “Angelina” have the ambition and scope of Wilson’s “Pet Sounds” music. Vocally, Dority produces a homespun sound and is often at the edge of his range; but so is Wilson, these days. Oddly, given his skills as a guitarist, pianist and accordionist, he confined himself to singing on Friday, leaving the playing to his band.

Woodpainting’s set was devoted to “Woodpainting” (the group exists to play this work), a score based on the 1954 play by Ingmar Bergman that eventually evolved into “The Seventh Seal.” Fragments of “The Seventh Seal,” looped and manipulated as live video by Stephanie Elizabeth Gould, provided a backdrop for the narrative piece about a knight, his squire and Death.

The spare score, for guitar (Zamcheck), bass (Jeremy Robinson) drums (Peter McLaughlin) and vocals (Zamcheck and Jerusha Robinson), called to mind the arty, classical-tinged British folk-rock of the early 1970s. Its vocal lines don’t quite soar – they sometimes have a spikiness similar to that of “La Mort de Cléopâtre” – but they are engaging and expressive, and Zamcheck uses vocal harmonies to stress some of the more telling moments in his freewheeling lyric. Mostly, though, the music’s strengths are in its intricate guitar lines, shifting meters and drive.

Allan Kozinn is a former music critic and culture writer for The New York Times who lives in Portland. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: kozinn

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