ALBUM REVIEW: “THE UNIVERSE IN YOU” by THE LONELY BISCUITS

The Lonely Biscuits are no stranger to funky guitar riffs, quirky love songs and Napoleon Dynamite vibes. The Universe in You, the indie-rock band’s latest album, is no exception to these characteristics. With its upcoming March 30th release, you’re going to want to crank this one up for the upcoming sunshine and warm weather.

The album begins with the perfect preface, “Walking Home.”  The tune gives listeners a taste of the album with its talk of planets and uncertainty of life. One can’t help but get sucked into the cosmic world of The Universe in You with this short and sweet 39-second track. Moving away from their intergalactic talk, The Lonely Biscuits follow up with “Caught Up,” a track telling a classic story of heartbreak: the inability to let go of an ex-lover. “I’m trying not to think about it ‘cause I miss you / Then I have to think about it ‘cause you split too soon,” sings lead vocalist Grady Wenrich. From a fun and rhythmic chorus to a funky electric guitar solo, this tune is upbeat with a mellow finish. Telling a story of nostalgia and lost love, the guitar and vocals slowly fade into oblivion, much like the love described in the song.

The Lonely Biscuits follow “Caught Up” with yet another song about lost love. Starting with slow and steady guitar strums, “Afterglow” describes feelings of foolishness when you lose the person you love after ignoring all the warning signs. The song starts calm and soft, but as it leads into hard-hitting verses, Wenrich shows off his falsetto range. “I guess I didn’t think you’d leave me, oh / I guess I really, oh / I’m stupid,” belts Wenrich. Building on all those pent-up feelings of anger, loss and sadness leads to yet another epic guitar solo at the end of the song. Contradicting the heartbreak vibes, “Endlessly” talks about the desire to spend every waking moment with that special someone and when you’re not with them, they consume every one of your thoughts. My personal favorite from The Universe in You, “Endlessly” captivates listeners with its unique lyricism, using creative analogies to discuss a blossoming love. “I want to know you like a cowboy knows a setting sun” and “I crave you like my dad craves coffee” to point out a few. Maybe I’m biased because I’m always a sucker for a good love song, but “Endlessly” puts a unique twist on a cliché topic, crafting it into a beautiful and original song about admiration.

Speaking of twists, the band changes up their own music with the release of The Universe in You. “Blue Glass,” one of the album’s singles, exposes listeners to a more “poppy” side of the band. Produced by Cage the Elephant’s Nick Bockrath, it’s no wonder the song is so addictive and catchy. The song tells a story of asking the universe for a sign of what might happen next, ultimately leading to a moment of complete clarity when it gives you what you’ve been looking for. An encouraging song about taking chances and believing something good will happen, “Blue Glass” was a perfect single and introduction to The Universe in You.

Again avoiding the topic of the real world, The Lonely Biscuits talk about the desire to “float in outer space” and run away from reality in “San Francisco.” First released on The San Francisco EP, it’s no surprise this guitar-driven, free-spirited tune made the cut onto The Universe in You. We all experience feelings of unhappiness and getting overwhelmed and when this happens, it can be hard to find motivation. Yet this upbeat, groovy tune doesn’t make you feel bad for wanting to run away from it all. The Lonely Biscuits again take a normally melancholy feeling and put their optimistic, lively twist on it.

Yet some problems are too big and painful to ignore, especially when it comes to heartbreak. Sometimes, this leaves us no choice but to confess our true feelings. “Better” is the classic tale of seeing the person you love with someone else. Someone who isn’t you. Showing the softer, more sensitive side of The Lonely Biscuits, “Better” is a declaration of love. “We should spend life together now / Oh, and you’ll forget about him / I know you better than him,” Wenrich confesses. With a dash of tambourine and a slow fade out at the end, one can’t help but feel sympathy and root for the underdog to get the girl.

And yet again, The Lonely Biscuits balance out a bleak song with an optimistic, hopeful tune. Just by looking at the title, “You Are OK” is exactly what you think it would be: A song offering a gleam of hope amidst life’s chaos. Sometimes nothing makes sense and you’re simply trying to make it day-by-day, but “You Are OK” encourages listeners not to dwell on all that negative mumbo-jumbo. The lyricism about growing up is what makes “You Are OK” another one of my personal favorites. With talk of playing with his dog Riley and seeing his grandpa relaxing in an easy chair, Wenrich talks about all the little things in life that make it not so bad after all. And that’s a lesson every one of us can learn.

Returning to talk of relationships and love, “Talk About” describes the desire to be a fly on the wall, wanting to know what the person you love says about you when you’re not around. “And when you’re with your friends and no one else can see / Oh, I got to know / Do you think about me?” asks Wenrich. It’s that initial insecurity that comes about at the beginning of a relationship, the overthinking, the second-guessing and wanting to know if the other person feels the same about you. Inspired by music from both the 90s and today, it’s no wonder, this quirky, upbeat song about a budding romance was released as a single to showcase how the band’s sound has matured.

Taking yet another musical turn, The Lonely Biscuits keep listeners on their toes by including “Wild.” Beginning with nothing but shakers and drums, Wenrich soon jumps in with one of many spoken word verses, giving the song heavy Johnny Cash feels. A song all about equality, the band reminds listeners “we’re all just trying to make it out on top here in this fight for our life.” This high-energy, and you guessed it, wild tune, eventually mellows out just in time for the bridge, giving it a unique sense of balance between calm and chaos. From spoken word to crazy rhythms, The Lonely Biscuits incorporate atypical musical elements to get the idea of equality across loud and clear to listeners.

Softening out, I couldn’t think of a better ending than “Forever” to close out a fast-paced album discussing such a vast array of emotions. Steady guitar strums introduce the song and with subtle hints of percussion eventually getting added, it’s hard not to feel at peace. With talk of a melancholy highway drive, The Lonely Biscuits eventually build up to one final electric guitar solo. It may not include a wide array of lyrics, but it works to the band’s advantage. The repetition of the words “You and I Together” encompasses the entirety of the album perfectly. An album with unique yet classic elements, The Universe in You is ready to take this summer by storm.

[Click here to purchase The Universe In You by The Lonely Biscuits, set for release on March 30th.]

[This album review was handcrafted by Eo8’s own Bri Goebel.]

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