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September 21, 2017


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The Diodes
Tired Of Waking Up Tired (Sony Music Entertainment)

By: Gary "Pig" Gold

Now that all the dust has settled, the old fanzines have forever been filed away, and everyone's scrapbooks of all things '77 have taken on that musty glow of nostalgic camp, it is at last safe to approach bands like The Diodes on a purely MUSICAL level. Yes indeed, this Toronto band's "credentials" certainly may have seemed suspect to many at the time (the quartet formed in the halls of the tony Ontario College of Art (everyone knows all the real Canadian punk(rocker)s came from the streets of nearby Hamilton!); in fact, it was this very safe triteness many felt was the reason they, as opposed to Teenage Head or - my gawd - the Viletones, were the very first Canuck punkers to sign up with a real big record company (in this case, CBS Canada).

No surprise then that very first Diodes album, book-ended with a couple of cute covers (including Paul Simon's "Red Rubber Ball") seemed almost as effected as singer Paul Robinson's effects-drenched vocal tracks. Yet a year later, this little band that could, on the eve of getting dropped by their label altogether, defiantly delivered as a parting shot two-minutes-fifty-three of nothing less than classic, stunning, possibly-even-perfect Power Pop (as one would classify it today, two decades later). Called "Tired Of Waking Up Tired," that song, and several others from their last-gasp 1979 album Released (especially the positively ethereal "Jenny's In A Sleep World," whose fetching keyboard lines were soon high-jacked part'n'parcel by the "Manic Monday"-era Prince), prove The Diodes, had they been left to their own devices, were both prepared and more than ready to plow boldly into the 1980's and beyond. Damn!

Unfortunately, this coming-of-age came just a tad too late, but thank heavens the boys at least got such gems as "No Right To Make Me Bleed" and "Weekend" down on tape before inevitably sweeping their separate ways. So now then, all these years later, we can all sit down -- as I truly hope you will -- and take the hour or so required to bop through this disc and marvel at how four studious kids from the Ontario College of Art, against all odds, all-too-briefly created more than their fair share of true, honest, musical magic. No, it probably isn't "punk," but geez, they never said they were from Hamilton!

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