Released three years and a half after the group’s debut CD, Veuillez procéder (literally: “Please Proceed”) was bound to feature some evolution in its music, but the giant leap it represents was unforeseen. Since their 2001 opus, Guido Del Fabbro, Simon Lapointe, Antonin Provost and Némo Venba have sharpen their edge, loosing the slightly pastoral feel that had previously drawn comparisons to Maneige and Conventum in favor of a rougher-edged, harder-rocking sound that takes them closer to The Muffins or Miriodor. The music still feature a certain level of tension between complex rhythm-driven pieces and studied moments of contemporary chamber music. Del Fabbro’s violin and Venba’s trumpet play key parts in the music’s excitement, but it seems that on this second effort the guitarist and keyboardist take more room — and all for the better. Veuillez procéder features twelve pieces split three-way between short transitional improvisations (the Bond précisionnel series), pieces in the three-to-five-minute range and longer epics. Del Fabbro’s Bois dur presents Rouge Ciel at their most arcane and jumpy, with elements of Univers Zero and a bastardized acoustic take on brutal prog. Nostradamus l’avait prédit and L’Occupation are breathtaking workouts, filled to the rim with clever ideas, dizzying counterpoint and folk overtones. Teuteuta and Pour Hortense offer an interlude of playful, more immediately accessible tunes. The album’s only small caveat is the 11-minute Névréalité postparapsychophysiologique which seems to get lost among its multiple themes. There might have been three or four great song ideas in there instead. Still, the piece will give avant-proggers something to chew on and the remainder of the album is pure creative delight. Rarely is a long-awaited second album this suited to meet expectations.