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Big Ambitions, Tiny Venue

Gibraltar
Gibraltar

New bands play lots of strange places: bedrooms, basements and bars (empty or, preferably, full). On June 12, Seattle’s fledgling post-punk quartet Gibraltar plays Eugene’s Tiny Tavern, a venue that is, well … pretty tiny. 

But it’s immediately apparent from their latest record, The New Century, that Gibraltar (featuring current and former members of Afghan Whigs, Visqueen, Exohxo and Spanish for 100) have arena-sized ambitions. 

The big keyboard intro on album-opener “Satisfied” evokes, of all bands, Journey. And the album’s de-facto single “Ideas” recalls Hot Fuss-era Killers, a band known for new-wave revivalism and a healthy dose of Anglophilia. Gibraltar singer Aaron Starkey frequently sounds like the Killers’ Brandon Flowers (subtract the glitz and glamor of Vegas, add a Northwest rainstorm) and his guitar work is explosive, noisy and exhilarating. 

Elsewhere, the Anglophilia continues — is that a British accent I hear? — with “Ostinato,” a song sounding more than a little like The Cure. The album even wraps up with a cover of The Cure’s “Never Enough.” Overall, The New Century is a dark and tuneful collection of quality pop songs that will turn any concert they play — despite the size of the venue — into a rock show of epic proportions.

Gibraltar plays with John Bellows, Hex Horizontal and Eugene’s Chest Cavity 9:30 pm Thursday, June 12, at Tiny Tavern; FREE.