Cause & Effect – “You Think You Know Her” from Another Minute
I discovered Cause & Effect when the band played a B104.1-promoted show in my hometown of Allentown, PA. I’m not 100% certain, but I believe it was at Mayfair in 1992. B104 was never my station of choice – their mix of past-their-prime hits and VH-1-core pop wasn’t exactly targeted at my 12-year-old tastes – but it was fairly inescapable in those days, the go-to background music in 90% of Allentown’s grocery stores and dental offices.
I’m certain that live appearance was the only reason the station was even spinning “You Think You Know Her,” a propulsive, vaguely goth-y bit of synthpop with echos of mid-80s Depeche Mode. It certainly didn’t sound like anything else they played, which made it an instant standout in my ears, a song that stuck with me well after it ceased getting airplay (presumably the day after the show).
Still, it wasn’t easy to keep track of a band in those pre-internet days, and it wasn’t until the video for “It’s Over Now,” the lead single from Cause & Effect’s second album, 1994’s Trip, popped up on 120 Minutes that I caught back up with them. That was the track that sold me, a doomy, wounded coming-to-terms with serious emotional heft and big, dark hooks for days. I ran out and bought Trip; it remains a favorite to this day.
Since then, I’ve made an effort to keep up to date on their sporadic activity: an independent CD, some remixes, and a series of EPs, including the still-in-progress Artificial Construct trilogy. And while the band’s sound has morphed over the years, from full-on electronica to hushed ballads and back around again, the core of vocalist/songwriter Rob Rowe’s style has persisted recognizably throughout. It doesn’t hurt that, though releases from the band have been rare, they’ve all been consistently good.
Last year, Rowe launched a solo project under the name Whitewaits. That project’s first LP, An Elegant Exit, is the best thing he’s done since Trip, a dynamic work packed with smart, well-crafted songs, and it made its way into my 2013 Top Ten. Indeed, it was my posting here on An Elegant Exit that led him to reach out to me.
After a brief email exchange and a couple games of schedule-tag, I had the privilege of chatting with Rob Rowe for over an hour this past February. Our wide-ranging conversation touched on Cause & Effect, Whitewaits and the music industry, past, present and future, all filtered through the lens of Rowe’s life as a musician and a man, wrestling with the stuff life throws at all of us.
Over the next few days, I’ll be posting the results here. I hope you read – aside from being a bit of personal wish-fulfillment, it’s one of the most enjoyable and insightful interviews I’ve conducted. As I’ve done more and more work for other outlets over the last few years, I’ve sadly grown negligent about posting original content here at Makeup For The Silence. Let this be the start of that changing.