You know the feeling when the clouds part and the sun shines down on you, the rush you get when you run and jump into a lake at full speed, or the moment a gust of morning air brings new life as you step outside and look at the world around you?

The National Parks translate these sensations into songs.

The Provo, UT quartet—Brady Parks [vocals, guitar], Sydney Macfarlane [vocals, keys], Cam Brannelly [drums], and Megan Parks [violin]—breathe in inspiration from the world around them and exhale cinematic indie folk-pop powered by soaring harmonies, organic orchestration, and luminous electronics.

Now, the group expand their vision yet again on their fifth full-length offering, 8th Wonder.

“The overarching theme is getting out of our heads, getting into nature and experiencing the world around us with the people who matter the most and living life to the fullest,” observes Brady. “This album came at a time of big transition. Within a year, there were a lot of significant and exciting personal changes. Musically, there are massive and anthemic moments and quiet, introspective parts. Overall, we tried to write the soundtrack to the road trip of life.”

Megan concurs, “I’m spiritually connected when I’m in nature and when I’m listening to music. We hope you hear the connection between nature and music. Listen to these songs and remember your adventures.”

Emerging in 2013, the musicians have consistently captivated audiences. They’ve generated over 150 million streams across Young [2013], Until I Live [2015], Places [2017], and Wildflower [2020]. As one of many highlights from the latter, “Time” amassed over 9.3 million Spotify streams as the album incited widespread critical applause. Parade raved, “Wildflower is chock full of adventure, wonder, freedom, and inspiration,” while The Line Of Best Fit attested, “it seems that the sky really is the limit for this quartet.” Mxdwn noted, “The National Parks have perfectly melded folk with catchy melodies, strong grunge chords and poetic lyrics in Wildflower.” The four-piece maintained this momentum with a sold-out headline tour and 2021’s EP A Mix for the End of the World.

At the top of 2022, the band members hopped on Zoom for a “New Year’s Resolutions meeting,” which galvanized their next step and the vision for the album became completely clear. The band discussed their ambitions for the year ahead and ultimately decided they wanted to hone in more on their core identity for the next LP. That connection with the natural world became the thematic center of the writing process.

“We’ve stepped into what The National Parks is,” Sydney elaborates. “We basically said, ‘This is who we are and who we have always been’. We decided to show who we are without trying to prove anything. I think it’s our best work.”

“Angels,” the album’s first single and opening track, sets the tone for what’s to come. The layered, evocative song centers on breaking free of expectation and searching for adventure on the open road—a sentiment that threads through the rest of the album. On the song, Brady sings, “Imma tell our kids about this someday.”

Following “Angels,” The National Parks initially teased the album with the single “History Channel.” A pop-punk beat sets the pace as piano dances around a thick guitar riff. Brady’s voice echoes on the chantable chorus as he confesses, “I didn’t know I could feel this way.”

“It’s about being caught up in day-to-day routines,” the frontman reveals. “Something happens, and you take a step back to admire life for how epic it really is. For me, it came right after our son was born. I was so in awe of Megan and having a baby. It took my life from the plains to the mountain range and it was so massive and mysterious. That’s the heart of it for me.”

“We really tapped into the energy of bands like blink-182 and Taking Back Sunday,” Cam goes on. “It was so fun to record, because we got to listen to music from our childhood.”
The title track “8th Wonder” recounts the Seven Natural Wonders of the World before acknowledging, “you’re the eighth wonder.”

“It discusses a love so big nothing else matters,” continues Brady. “All of the mysteries in the world are second place to the love in your life.

A violin solo glistens through “Sunshine” as acoustic guitars wrap around a steady beat. “You’re finding those people and holding onto that energy when the days are rough,” he says.

Then, there’s “Trouble.” It bottles the butterflies of “love-at-first sight.” Speaking of love, the finale “Rodeo” traces a roadmap of real romance across “all of the places we’ve been on this journey as we’ve pursued music and our relationships” in between steady handclaps and tambourine.

In the end, The National Parks welcome everyone into a much bigger and more wonderful musical world.

“When you hear this, we hope you feel like you stepped outside,” Brady leaves off. “We hope you discover the spirit of the unknown and the adventure of life with all it’s ups and downs. This album is about embracing it all and living life to the fullest.

The National Parks