Before I got to high school, I thought Depeche Mode was a one-hit wonder act. “People Are People” was a Top 40 hit in 1985, and then they disappeared, or so I thought for a few years. Without exposure to modern rock radio (or knowledge of what modern rock radio even WAS at that point), how the hell was I supposed to know that DM was still kickin’?
My entrance into high school in 1989 broadened my world in many ways. It also made me realize that DM was still around, and there were tons of black-clad Asian kids who hung on to every word Dave Gahan sang. I vaguely remember our school newspaper voting “101” one of the top albums of 1989. If I remember correctly, it was sandwiched between “Hangin’ Tough” and “Forever Your Girl”. Innocent times and all that. Of course, the following spring, “Violator” came out and Depeche Mode went from down-low superstars to an official “A”-level band.
So why am I spending so much time writing about Depeche Mode when I’m supposed to be talking about Cause and Effect? Well, the latter group was an unabashed ripoff of the former, at least for one glorious hit. “You Think You Know Her” went to #38 on the pop charts in 1991. I could’ve sworn it charted higher, seeing as I played the cassette single for that song into the ground. The song itself is a poppy slice of new-wave goodness that wouldn’t have been out of place in between “Enjoy the Silence” and “Policy of Truth” on “Violator”.
I’d actually never seen the video before finding it on Youtube yesterday (I didn’t have MTV until I was 19). What’s funny to me is that lead singer Rob Rowe actually looks similar to Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan Mach 2 (circa “Faith and Devotion”), maybe crossed with a little bit of INXS’s Michael Hutchence. What’s surprising to me (after doing some research) is that Cause and Effect hit the Billboard Hot 100 several more times after “Know Her”, despite the tragic death of keyboardist Sean Rowley, who died of complications from an asthma attack during a soundcheck in late 1992. They were touring with Information Society, too. 16 year old me would’ve fucking LOVED that show. I’ve seen their first album, “Another Minute” in dollar bins here and there. Maybe now I’ll finally give it a spin.
Guess what? Cause and Effect is still kicking around! Check out their website!