On Further , their seventh studio release, the Chemical Brothers have tapped into their own brand of pensive eloquence. The brief eight-track album takes listeners beyond audio: each of the songs is accompanied by graphically enhanced videos, featuring British acress Romola Garai. Like the sounds that they illustrate, the videos build on a central, evolving concept rather than a linear message.

Notably, this is the first album that the British electronica duo Tom Rowlands and Ed Simmons have produced without big-name vocal guests. Vocals are performed by Rowlands and singer Stephanie Dosen, who has worked with Massive Attack in the past. This makes Further a project of intense introspection, whose composite electro audio quality waxes philosophical throughout.

The Chemical Brothers have returned to their purist electronica roots to prove that they can create some real magic using their own devices. You might think that this would simplify their sound; but instead, the album portrays some unprecedented complexity: it takes some serious focus and listening muscle to fully appreciate the sophistication of the audio layers.

The album opens with ‘Snow,' where an electronic pulse is layered with Dosen’s wispy vocals singing ‘Your love keeps lifting me/Lifting me higher’. The song revolves around a single, repeated statement. The sound swells gradually, with drones, electric fuzz sound effects and multiplying vocal harmonies.

‘Another World’ features accordion sounds and a kick-drum beat. The track relies on a formulaic melancholy, stretched vocals and busy audio layers. The nearly six-minute song crescendos dramatically, with intermittent pulses of pulled-back silence, until it fades.

‘Dissolve’ features some classic rock rhythms, and takes you through nearly five minutes of swelling instrumental melody before the sparse, single-phrase lyrics chime in for a few beats. It could be haunting if its underlying sentiment weren’t so sunny.

Furthermore, some entirely instrumental tracks such as ‘Escape Velocity’ play out like the soundtrack to an early 90s Nintendo game.

Rowlands’ and Simmons’ quirky and sporadic sense of humour is still intact; evidenced by the sound effects of ‘Horsepower’, in which a recording sample of a neighing of a horse is looped over a nearly indecipherably altered voice. Heavy with electric effects and off-kilter samples (keyboard, beeps, grinds and drones), the Chemical Brothers shine again by producing something almost soulful out of otherwise synthetic-sounding noise.

Further takes us on a brief journey of sound exploration; before we can really decide if we like it, the eight-track line-up is over, leaving us adjusting to the un-retouched noises of reality.

The Chemical Brothers still possess their knack for manipulating sound and taking us places, but we can’t quite figure out where this one went. Maybe another listen will help us decide.