Every couple of years, some music journalist heralds the return of prog. Here’s one from Sunday’s NY Times: Strike Up the Band in 13/4 Time: Progressive Rock Returns. Prog has been good to some bands (Green Day, Radiohead), and bad to just as many (Sunny Day Real Estate), but after reading Pareles’ article I was curious enough to listen the Mars Volta for the first time. The band’s five-part conceptual opus Frances The Mute shifts genres every couple of minutes and has track titles like “Cygnus… Vismund Cygnus.” (“The lyrics are both copious and hermetic,” Pareles notes.) It’s a grating, difficult listen … not the Lamb Lies Down On Broadway 2005 I was hoping for. A concept album this ambitious requires a dozen more listens. Any Mars Volta fans out there? Please tell me whether or not to waste my time with Frances.