When the world gnaws at every vein of our sanity on a daily basis it becomes more and more important to hold tightly to things that make us think and feel, without telling us how to do either or both.

In the face of one member being a new dad, another recovering from dependency, Peoria, Illinois-based The Way Down Wanderers, like many of us, seek to find answers to guide us and meaning to keep us motivated. The third release from the five-piece hands us a roadmap that is somewhere between folk’s answer to an almost Grouplove-ian sound and late summer memories yet to be made, while holding on to optimism shrouded in lessons learned through darkness.

More Like Tomorrow boldly opens with “Codeine Rest & Loneliness,” a track that showcases the draw of leading men Collin Krause and Austin Krause-Thompson, but equally John Merikoski, John Williams, and Travis Kowalsky. The fine “how-do-you-do?” explodes with all-cards-on-the-table sound that will immediately draw you in; especially if you’ve never experienced The Way Down Wanderers. Inspired by the loss of two friends who died young, it is a big move to place at opening, but a just one.

As the ten-track record progresses, we quickly realize virtually each track lives vibrantly and warmly in its own existence without rehashing the same over and over. Stepping out of the perceptive mold that created More Like Tomorrow, “Hiding” opens the “B-Side” with sunny vocal delivery and all-too-addicting presence on a balance of synth and keys that cool as it heats up. While a personal favorite, it’s just one of the many, many reasons to spend time with this record.

The third act of the record settles itself into a bluegrass/folk soundscape that weaves Americana storytelling of reflection bordering on pain in various forms. Like passing pools of light traveling on a dark road in the middle of the night, the illuminations found in the sounds of “Parkside Drive” and “Dark Marks” turn inward and feel like a late summer evening. The bar-shanty finale of “Everything’s Made Out of Sand,” reminiscent of early Ages and Ages, lifts spirits and somehow leaves us feeling everything is going to be just fine. On the whole, it becomes a satisfying final chapter to a record that is sure to find home in those looking for meaning to move us into the end of another confusing year.

Genre-spanning in song and influence, The Way Down Wanderers traverse a blend of sound in their latest More Like Tomorrow. It is a journey that offers dynamic landscapes of harmonizing hooks and blended instrumentals to safely steer clear of genre labels yet remains confidently honest to itself. For this listener, it’s a refreshing escape from reality that gnaws at us all. Find out what it means for you when More Like Tomorrow is released on Soundly Music September 10, 2021.