Cause and Effect is a synth-pop group created by Rob Rowe and Sean Rowley. The two had been members of a band before, that had failed commercially and disbanded. They formed the group in 1989, and Rob, who had previously only played guitar, took the vocal lead, while continuing to be the group's guitarist. Rowley performed backing vocals, as well as playing the piano and synthesizers. Learning from earlier mistakes, they avoided performing live, spending all of their time in the studio, where they assembled an impressive demo tape. They were quickly signed on to Exile Records, when they began sending the tape around.
Exile released the single "What Do You See", and before long it was hitting #8 on the dance charts. The success of this single placed the pressure on the group to release a full album quickly, and over the course of two weeks they did the bulk of recording for their eponymous album. Despite the quick development, the album is very well produced, of very consistent quality and very listenable, although it has been accused of being derivative and overtly American in sound.. It was released in January of 1990, and the single "You Think You Know Her" quickly shot up to #9 on the dance charts, but never got any higher. Things looked bright for the duo. They were often compared to Depeche Mode, aurally, as the electronic music and Rowe's voice are reminiscent of early-mid era Depeche Mode. They were invited to tour with Information Society, for which they hired old friend, drummer Evan Parandes. The tour was very succesful, and they were signed on to the larger Zoo Records.
The album was re-released by Zoo Records, under the title of their next single "Another Minute", and the band were invited to tour once again with Information Society. Parandes, however, had decided to move on to a different career and left the band, to be replaced by freelance drummer Richard Shepherd. "Another Minute" reached #20 on the Billboard charts, when disaster struck. In preparing for the seventh show on the tour, Rowley was hit by a massive asthma attack. The asthma attack continued to intensify, until Rowley's heart failed him. He was rushed to the hospital, and barely revived. The remainder of the tour was cancelled, with Rowley in critical condition and in no shape to continue on with the band in any capacity. The end of Cause and Effect seemed at hand.
Rowley and Shepherd were invited to perform live at the KROQ studio, for their annual "Acoustic Christmas". They agreed, dedicating the performance to Rowe, and performed an acoustic set. The set was met with such enthusiasm by the audience, that the two decided to continue on as Cause and Effect, and try to create a new album. Songwriter and keyboardist Keith Milo was brought in to help with the newly reconstituted band, and with the assistance of producer Martin Phillips (who had previously produced albums by Erasure, Jesus Jones, and The Beloved), they created a new album, "Trip", in studios in London.
The new album had a softer tone to it than the previous one, much less obviously synthesized. More natural sounds were used, and it was released as an Alternative Rock album. The single "It's Over Now" reached #10 on the charts, but the album never quite gained the success of their previous work, despite being much better critically acclaimed. The group pushed on, after touring to support "Trip", recording a new album. However, they were slowed by the financial problems of their label, Zoo Records. They finally completed the largely unheard album Innermost Station, in 1997 and rereleased it in 1999.
Since then, the group has continued to fade into obscurity. A new EP, "The Sunrise", has been promised for release "imminently" since July of 2002, but hasn't yet been seen. Rob Rowe has been seen in progressive clubs recently, under the alias of DJ Mood, DJ'ing, which might be a further sign of lack of forward motion of the band. It appears as though we may have heard all we will from Cause and Effect. They are, however, trying to ride the new media of internet music, and have many of their tracks from all of their albums available for download in MP3 format from their website www.causeandeffect.com. Hopefully, the time being spent on the new EP is indicative of care and craftsmanship, not frustration and failure.