The Cassidys / Tula
Release Date: Nov. 1, 2019
Genre: Folk-Pop (MAPL/SOCAN)
Songs by Mark Cassidy and Lara Goulding
Produced and mixed by Gord Richards
at Oak Recording Studio, Toronto
In mixing elements of indie pop and urban folk, Toronto-based duo The Cassidys are not easily categorized. But one listen to their debut album Tula makes it clear that their simple intention is to bring together listeners of all stripes with unforgettable melodies and positive messages.
The collection also marks a turning point for singer/guitarist Mark Cassidy and multi-instrumentalist Lara Goulding after several years of musical experimentation. After finding each other—Mark’s a Toronto native and Lara’s originally from Auckland, New Zealand—their next goal was to find a sound. They took their first steps on that path playing strictly folk music, basically anywhere and everywhere they could. The focus then shifted to composing electronica/dance pieces at home, before a return to the bars (and even weddings) as a cover band.
But all of that experience over a three-year period was eventually channeled into a cache of new, original songs that chronicled their highs and lows while incorporating aspects of all the genres in which they were dabbling. The first completed song was called “Tula,” and both Mark and Lara instinctively knew that the joy of its creation represented a new phase of their musical journey.
For Mark, the goal has always been to combine the songwriting prowess of the Beatles with the soulful vocals of Marvin Gaye, along with a healthy dash of ‘90s Brit-pop for good measure. For her part, Lara balances her classical background by keeping up with current pop hits that are part of the lessons she gives her young piano and guitars students. It adds up to some unexpected sonic delights on Tula, as on the track “Cannonball,” which builds from a simple piano/vocal intro to a euphoric full-band crescendo.
Lara and Mark have found strength in one another and have no problem revealing it in their music. It’s something that we as listeners can draw strength from as well, particularly on “Be With You,” as pure a love song as you’ll ever hear. Although Mark describes it as his attempt to write the archetypal high school slow-dance song, it beautifully encapsulates everything The Cassidys are about—the power of a great piece of music to dispel the darkness.