NATL PARK SRVC are a seven-strong group of young artists and writers building grand, indie-pop soundscapes amongst the glacial plains, sudden cities, and wild climate of Minnesota.
The Dance, their group’s debut LP out May 14, serves as an expressive outburst of what they describe as “every teenage emotion that felt too big to be real.”
New Noise are proud to premiere The Dance in full below:
With the group’s members currently finding their ways into their early twenties, those teenage emotions are harnessed and explored on The Dance, spun back out in sprawling arrangements that explore the conflicting experiences of love, loss, hope, depression, and beyond.
This album is the first release to fully embrace the scope of NATL PARK SRVC’s collective creative vision. On The Dance they capture this sound with more punch, grit, and drive than ever before. During their performances amongst the continuously burgeoning Twin Cities music scene, they’ve been exposed to and inspired by countless innovative musicians. When the band committed to building their sound, there were few questions about who would best help bring the new sounds to life. Ultimately, it’s about community. Musicians whose lives intersected, creativity mutually stoked, and friendships built.
Here’s our exclusive album Track By Track with NATL PARK SRVC vocalist and guitarist Dylan Woytcke:
We wanted this album to signify a new era for the band, in terms of discography and sonically. All of the EPs, that was one thing, and this was something new. We wanted to make a concept album rooted in the classic “teen movie” plot. School dances, losing friendships, gaining others, trying to figure out who you are and how to love others. It’s a time of our lives that comes and goes so swiftly, but it’s incredibly formative. That being said, it wouldn’t have been honest to tackle something like that without first facing the modern anxieties of teenagers. My anxiety growing up, about real-world issues like school shootings, and in general, is the foundation for the whole record. The opening lyric is “Freddy was a school shooter” which is a kind of inversion of the first lyric we ever had as a band, “Freddy died unexpectedly.”
“The Right Thing”
Jared and I wrote this one in something like January 2020. At that point we sort of had some rough ideas of what we wanted the album to sound in its entirety and had a good chunk of songs written. In the grander narrative of the album this is the first one from the narrator’s perspective. We wanted the lyrics to be an anthem for youthful apathy. It’s a little bit naive and over-romantic. We were just kinda messing around with demos and Jared played the main guitar lead and we just wrote most of the arrangement in one sitting. We wanted the song to have a sort of melancholy feel. We did our final tracking for this song at Hideaway Studios in Minneapolis, MN with Drifter Music Group in June 2020. Our good friend Maddy Siiter sings backup vocals on this track; they are one of my favorite persons, songwriters, and musicians that I know. All the gang vocals are from our friends in another Twin Cities group VIAL, and they rock.
This track is pretty simply about being reckless with your friends as a teenager. It’s about all those moments growing up where you feel way more confident than you probably should and acting out accordingly. I wrote the guitar riff for this track and the next, “The Last Chance,” in the same sitting. It was a very cool experience.
“The Last Chance”
I like this track a lot because I think it really captures that sort of bratty attitude of being a teenager. I liked the idea of having a song from the perspective of asking someone to go to the dance with you. It’s got these pretty snotty lyrics about superficiality which are fun to sing and hear.
This song is named after an old high school band I was in with Jared and Nathan. Considering the naming convention of all the tracks on the record, it fit way too snugly not to use. The song is about those times when you’re with someone and you are kind of making anxious small talk about whatever you can: the band playing, the terrible drinks, whatever to pass the awkward moments by. Meanwhile, you just want to know what the person you actually want to be with is doing. The chorus is from the perspective of the other, as they can tell you’re looking straight through them at someone else, “Is there more? Are you bored?” It has a very bittersweet, anxious vibe.
“The Tea & The Tear Apart”
This one is definitely the emotional peak of the record. This was the first song I wrote with the intention of being on our full length, and it definitely set the stage for the more orchestral and grand vision we wanted to go for with the band in general. It’s a very bittersweet ballad about heartbreak, and we wanted it to feel like the first time you got your heart broken and coming to terms with that. We wanted the lyrics to feel very conversational.
This track is a synth-pop tribute to listening to the radio with your friends, driving around, dancing at parties, getting up to a healthy amount of trouble.
This is the only song on our record that existed in some form or another before the album. It’s a sort of medley of two songs from our early EPs (GARAGE and Part Two), and we always played them together like this live. It was really cool to finally bring it together into its fully realized vision. We always talk about how this track feels like a victory lap; in a lot of ways, it’s our celebration of the band itself and our journey up to this point.
“You Won’t Be Able To Find Me”
This is the big finale of the whole album. This is basically our take on the whole Springsteen-ian “I’m gonna leave this small town and make a name for myself” trope that lots of rock songs used to have, which suits this record I think. I liked how it was kind of narratively ambiguous and has a more meta- lyrical element to it. The crescendo at the end is kind of an inversion of the intro to the record and has this massive pay off that I really love. This song, and subsequently the whole album, marks an end of an era for us as a band, and we wanted to capture that feeling as best we could. It’s a record about growing up, and this song is the final push out of the nest before we take flight.
Pre-order and stream The Dance here.