An electronic fusion of cleverly crafted pop arrangements against a backdrop of layered synth textures and acoustic rhythmic flourishes. Intelligent, thought provoking lyrics and pleading melodies embedded in lush sonic soundscapes that are sure to captivate the senses of even the most discriminating listener. Cause and Effect’s Rob Rowe and Keith Milo return with their fifth studio album, “ARTIFICIAL CONSTRUCT.”
After developing and perfecting their own brand of electronic pop for nearly two decades, “ARTIFICIAL CONSTRUCT” marks a new level of maturity songwriting, and new way of thinking about how music is released and sold. Breaking with tradition, “ARTIFICIAL CONSTRUCT” has been designed as a three-part series to be released as individual EP’s over the course of 2010, rather than a conventional ten to twelve-song album release.
“We wanted to try a new way of putting out our music this time around,” says Milo. “There are no rules anymore. The digital age has turned the entire industry on its head and it’s made us all rethink things. Are we artificially constructing an album by releasing it in “parts,” or is the 12 song album as we’ve come to know it just an artificial construct?
Led off by the deeply contagious first single “HAPPY?” where Milo’s sleek electronic bed of synth driven melodies lay the foundation for Rowe’s silky smooth vocals and sardonic lyrical content. “Everybody’s happy dreaming of the future,” Rowe croons seductively in a tale about finding a sense of purpose and meaning in the mundane mediocrity of corporate life. And while “HAPPY?” bridges the gap sonically between previous C+E albums, it also sets the tone for the rest of the EP’s emotionally charged tracks which range in style from the electro-acoustic lover’s ballad “View of the Sea,” to the nostalgic teenage New Romantic anthem “This Is who I Am,” to the dark and brooding closer “Sleep,” which tells a deeply honest and emotional tale of love lost.
“There’s a bit of everything we love in there,” says Rowe. “We’ve never easily fit into a specific genre and that gives us the freedom to always blur the lines while being true to our roots. We can put a song like ‘HAPPY?’ right next to a song like ‘View of the Sea’ and it still feels cohesive. It still sounds like C+E.”
Cause and Effect’s debut album, Another Minute, stormed onto the music scene in the early 90’s scoring two top ten dance singles and a Billboard top 20 singles hit with “You Think You Know Her.” After the tragic loss of friend, writing partner and co-founding member Sean Rowley in late 1992, singer Rowe took a step back to re-evaluate the band’s direction and the hopes he had for the future.
“Performing the tribute to Sean at the KROQ Acoustic Christmas Show in LA was a turning point,” explains Rowe, “The overwhelming support from the fans and audience made me realize that giving up just wasn’t an option.”
Determined to pick up the pieces and move forward, Rowe called upon Keith Milo, an Orange County-based electronic musician and friend to finish the remaining leg of the tour with himself and drummer Rich Shepherd.
Although that initial tour was plagued with equipment malfunctions, thefts and travel mishaps, it was to become the start of a new beginning for C+E. Upon returning home, Rowe and Milo quickly went to work writing new material and redefining the sound of Cause and Effect.
“Coming in to Cause and Effect after Sean’s death was a scary thing to do,” says Milo, “there was so much uncertainty. Sean was a genius with melody, he was irreplaceable. I think there was solace in the fact that we became a very different band at that point and we all felt that we were doing the right thing by continuing on.”
Six months later, the three found them selves in London recording the band’s critically acclaimed sophomore album “Trip” with producer Martyn Phillips (best known for his work with Beloved, Erasure, and Jesus Jones).
A seamless integration of Rowe’s evocative vocals and economical guitar, Milo’s melodic soundscapes and Shepherd’s inventive percussion, “Trip” was an “affirmation of life and hope.” The aptly named album documents the band’s journey towards self-discovery that they made in the London flat they shared, in the studio, and in underground dance clubs they frequented between recording sessions. In addition to receiving overwhelming critical praise, the album spawned the thundering cross-over club hit, “It’s Over Now,” which respectively climbed to the #7 spot on Billboard’s modern rock charts and was C+E’s fourth release to make it onto the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
Despite the success of the “Trip” album, Cause and Effect’s label Zoo Entertainment was in severe financial turmoil as a result of growing too quickly. After parent company BMG pulled funding and distribution, the indie-run label soon folded. Rather than look for another major label contract, the band built their first Web site, formed the label, Liquefaction, and decided to embrace the digital DIY world brought about by the explosion of the Internet.
A year later saw the release of “INNERMOST STATION”, the band’s third album. Nine extraordinary, introspective tracks including the epic single “World is Ours,” which instantly became a favorite amongst many of their adoring fans and college radio programmers alike. Soon after the recording of “INNERMOST STATION” was completed, drummer Richard Shepherd amicably left the band to pursue personal interests.
Meeting up at Milo’s LA studio for “THE SUNRISE EP” sessions marked the second major musical turning point for C+E. Sonically inspired by the laid back loungy grooves of the underground, “THE SUNRISE EP’S” lead single “Into the Light” went on to become the band’s fifth single to chart in the Billboard Club charts reaching the #20 spot in Summer 2004. The EP also featured the acoustic-driven “Stay,” which has become a fan favorite. C+E toured throughout 2004 in support of “THE SUNRISE EP” playing in 23 cities across the US and South America.
2010, today’s Cause and Effect are brimming with a renewed vigor and a surging confidence. In addition to the newly released “ARTIFICIAL CONSTRUCT PART ONE,” the duo is hard at work on the follow-up releases, “PART TWO” and “PART THREE”, which will be released later this year followed by live shows beginning in 2011.
Cause and Effect is: ROB ROWE and KEITH MILO