Last year, as I was enjoying my Spotify “Discover Weekly” playlist, a track crept across my recommendations. As I listened to “As We Ran,” I knew I had discovered a new band that I wanted to dive deeper into. This is how I was first introduced to The National Parks. They’ve released three full-length albums with a rather soft growth but have been working toward emerging as one of the best indie folk-pop bands on the scene. With the recent release of their fourth full length album, Wildflower, I expect them to continue getting more and more notoriety.
Formed back in 2013, The National Parks got their start thanks to crowd funding and a proactive guerrilla marketing campaign that involved the passing out of hundreds of flyers around Provo, UT (the band’s home town). The National Parks isn’t just a fun name, however, as the band has donated to the National Parks Conservation Association on more than one occasion (including all of their first month’s income generated by their first big single, “As We Ran.”).
Lead vocalist/guitarist Brady Parks says that,”Wildflower is an album about life and love, challenges and joy, and about staying true to who you are through all of it. We hope the songs on this album can be a reminder that we are all in this together.”
I love the intro to this album. “Superbloom” takes you away to visuals of being out in nature, with what sounds like a distant harmonica playing around a campfire. The sounds of the harmonica are joined by guitar, drums, and serene vocals – eventually booming into the intro for the second track, and namesake of the album, “Wildflower.” One of the reasons I was initially drawn to The National Parks is that they take risks in their songs, offering beautiful flowing interludes and then popping back to the power of the chorus. “Wildflower” is a great example of this styling and how the band can mix so many wonderful background instruments, adding an almost ethereal feel at times.
“Time” slows things down a bit, starting out as a simplistic slow and sweet love song, but then picking up by the end with many added layers of symphonic styling. “Waiting for Lightening” is the third single that was released from the album with an accompanying music video. It is the third video in a series of visual imagery from the band for this album. You can view it here if you desire, and also check out the videos for “Wildflower” and “Time.” They provide a lovely escape with beautiful imagery.
“Blue Moonlight” drops in offering a lot of dreamy strings work throughout, swelling between sweet, soft melodies and more booming sweeps throughout the song.
Some of the stand-out tracks on the album for me include “Daze” and “Chance,” both of which are beautiful slower songs, and “I Can Feel It,” which packs the most upbeat punch on the entire album other than “Wildflower.” From start to finish, this is really the perfect album to put on, sit outside, and enjoy the fresh breeze while playing some fresh indie folk-pop tunes. I can feel the breeze, see the campfire and the fireflies, and see the sunset on the horizon as I listen to these tracks.
Check out the album on Spotify: