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DIODES (Buy CDs by this artist)
The Diodes (Can. Columbia) 1977
Released (Can. Epic) 1979
Action-Reaction (Can. Orient) 1979
Survivors (Can. Fringe) 1982
Tired of Waking Up Tired: The Best of the Diodes (Can. Sony Music) 1998 + 2007

This Toronto quartet got on the map with an inoffensive cover of the Cyrkle's hit, "Red Rubber Ball," but never made much of an international impression afterward. Their albums — three studio forays and one assemblage of unreleased odds and ends — prove the Diodes to be a competent but mundane rock group with faint punky instincts. Too mild-mannered to be aggressive but too energized to be wholly bland, the Diodes stuck close to the conservative rail, which keeps their albums from being very interesting.

The Diodes bears the marks of a first-time band anxious not to offend anyone. Released, which reprises "Red Rubber Ball" from the first album, contains the band's best work — melodic power pop, including a fine original, "Tired of Waking Up Tired." Unfortunately, the Diodes don't sustain that cut's vitality, and some of the other material here drags tediously.

Action-Reaction is the final album by the original lineup; the band subsequently replaced its bassist and drummer and relocated to England. A collection of previously unreleased tracks — outtakes, demos and a live version of the Stones' "Play with Fire" — was issued in 1982, named after its leadoff song, "Survivors."

[Ira Robbins]