In the wake of Music for the Masses and Violator, Depeche Mode clones came out of the proverbial wood work. First, Camouflage, then Red Flag and eventually, Cause & Effect.
Cause & Effect singer Rob Rowe, like Camouflage’s Marcus Meyn, bore yet another striking timbral resemblance to David Gahan, and those familiar string pads and synth basses thread through the Los Angeles duo’s songs as well.
Guitars were only starting to become a component in Depeche Mode’s music at the time, but they were part of Cause & Effect’s sound from the get-go. The opening track of the band’s self-titled debut album incorporated an acoustic guitar to great effect. The ringing riff that opens "Something New" is more New Order than DM.
Where Camouflage had a spiritual and aesthetic affinity with its England-based counterparts, Cause & Effect were far more willing to spin that sound for its own purposes. In short, they were nowhere near as dour.
"New World", "The Echoing Green" and "Another Minute" feel positively sunny next to the existential dread of Music for the Masses.
Cause & Effect also had both groups beat in terms of rhythm — these songs were more than ready for the dance floor. Oddly enough, most of Cause & Effect was reissued on a major label as Another Minute, sporting a re-sequenced track list and remixes of "You Think You Know Her" and "What Do You See" even more dance floor-friendly. The original mixes, though, have more nuance.
The album, unfortunately, is no longer in print, although Another Minute serves as a suitable substitute. The original sequencing of the self-titled debut made more sense, so reorder your playlist accordingly.
Cause & Effect, the album, in the end demonstrated that Depeche Mode’s dark aesthetic could be used for something brighter without diluting the core sound. You could sound like David Gahan but less so with the right kind of music.