Look for myrrh of that Frankincense gold

After some tedium, local rock foursome Frankincense is ready to hit stages.

Minneapolis band Frankincense outside their space in Northeast Minneapolis on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013.

Image by Bridget Bennett

Minneapolis band Frankincense outside their space in Northeast Minneapolis on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013.

by Spencer Doar

Most breakup stories don’t end with the words, “And now we’re in a band together.”

But that’s just the case for Dan Freborg and Samantha Wenwoi, the founding members of the local alternative rock foursome Frankincense.

“It was just important to us,” Wenwoi said.

The two had played with bassist Caleb Thilges in the past, but only coalesced as Frankincense in 2010. One could argue, though, that it really became official when Wenwoi and Freborg chose the band’s name after watching a History Channel documentary on the Holy Land.

Paul Collier found a spot on the drum throne through a Craigslist ad, rounding out the roster.

Despite the initially piecemeal arrangement and the personal history between Freborg and Wenwoi, Frankincense is a predominantly drama-free group with chemistry a non-issue, though Collier does still seem a bit like a hired gun.

They’re solid as a straight-ahead rock group, but the intriguing aspect of Frankincense is derived from the interaction between Wenwoi’s voice and the instrumentals.

She mentioned Bjork as an influence first, while Freborg name-dropped groups like Sonic Youth and the Smashing Pumpkins, which is entirely indicative of the sometimes dissimilar style of the vocals as compared to the strings and drums. But it works.

It’s no easy task making all the parts gel though, which explains why they didn’t play much during the first half of 2013.

“Because everybody adds a lot, that’s kind of why our writing process is so slow,” Freborg said.  

The result of the slog through the composition process is their “Oomph/To Be Seen” EP, the release of which is marked by this show at Cause. It’s eight songs that span the whole life of the group.

Given that these songs were created at differing moments during the band’s evolution, it’s no surprise that the EP has a swathe of altered styles and little repetition.

“Pazuzu Hearts Regan,” with its staccato tom work on the drums, is almost reminiscent of classic Cream.

“There’s Something Beneath” is a singer-songwriter ballad, while “Summoned to Hell,” with its wash of guitars and twanging guitar riffs, is punk mixed with psychedelic rock.

Yet there’s a common thread: Wenwoi’s powerful voice.

It’s all for the best — the spectrum of songs mixed with the time taken to make them means that Frankincense’s new EP works as a sort of greatest hits, songs clearly slaved over.

What: Frankincense

When: 9 p.m., Thursday

Where: Cause Spirits and Soundbar, 3001 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis

Cost: Free

Age: 21+