Although their inspiration lies in '50s rock'n'roll, D.C.'s DIVERSIONS have always projected the kinetic zeal and boyish charm of a British beat band. On stage they convincingly sell themselves as a hard-working and exuberant democracy. While half of their new eight-song cassette "Rock'n'Roll Fever" is solid but derivative rockabilly, the other half flexes some creative muscle in song and style. Brian Damage's emotionally moving vocals on the power-poppish "She's Just That Way" and the rocking "Still Got Friends," and the zany ska touches on "Money" and the instrumental "Banzai" all suggest this band's future lies beyond the local club scene. The CASUALS, from Charlottesville, have been working the club circuit for some time and have just released their first album, "Walk Faster." Their experience is evident in eight well-crafted post-Beatles pop songs full of nice instrumental and vocal touches and solid dynamics. At times, the impact of such melodic pieces as "A Little Misunderstanding" and "Friends and Lovers" is undermined by some competent but extraneous guitar soloing. Unfortunately, the light-rock Casuals, unlike the Shoes or Marshall Crenshaw, haven't yet shaped a distinctive '80s identity from '60s pop roots. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUMS THE DIVERSIONS -- Rock'n'Roll Fever (Diversions Casette D1002). THE CASUALS -- Walk Faster (Casualrama CR101). THE SHOWS THE DIVERSIONS at the Wax Museum Sunday THE CASUALS, featuring Johnny Sportcoat, at the Bayou Sunday.