Frances is probably my second favorite album of theirs, it solidifies my conception of them as a heavy jam band. IIRC that was the album where they wrote the lyrics in front of a wall of TVs (Cedric or Omar collect them?) playing all different things. Frances the Mute is a jam if you haven't heard it, once the 5min of ambient metallic noises gets over.never thought I'd care about hooks in prog rock until cedric's vocal melodies got stuck in my head for weeks on end. also why I think mars volta was a better incarnation of those two than at the drive-in.
frances still hasn't completely clicked though. cassandra gemini is....a mess to me*.
*edit: the first 7 or so minutes of that are actually one of my favourite stretches of music ever put out by them. the "no there's no light in the darkness of your furthest reaches" melody might be one of their best. but then it trails off into just minutes and minutes of noodling.
"Noctourniquet" is my wtf in their discography, I'll listen to it maybe every three years or so and that's more than enough. It has some moments but I just can't. If that was the direction they were headed then I'm okay with them ending it all.
I've heard them described as the "most dazzlingly cool band of the '00s" and I agree. Never cared for Drive In that much tbh.