Oceanside, CA skate punks Sic Waiting should be recognizable to anyone familiar with Fat Wreck’s late-nineties output. The band seamlessly meshes the melodic facets of groups like Face to Face, Ignite and Rise Against while injecting their own polished take on the genre. After two albums and an EP, third full-length Derailer finds the band hitting their song-writing stride and delivering a high-quality collection of SoCal punk.
It’s clear two seconds into opener “Active Alumni” that Jared Stinson was born to front a group like Sic Waiting. Stinson’s melodic intonation brings to mind punk heroes of old while retaining its own unique tone and character. His vocals are the star of the show and he wields them deftly over the course of the album, anchoring the band’s sound across a variety of tempos and lyrical subjects.
Though Stinson takes center stage, his supporting cast is more than capable of rounding out the group’s sound. Fast, poignant and likely to bounce around your head hours after listening, standout “War is the Answer” displays the full breadth of the band’s collective talents. Other highlights include the hook-laden “Lies are for Living” and uptempo album closers “In Compatible Love” and “Maps,” while the guitar leads and harmonizing on “The Sell” would sound at home on any recent Strung Out album.
Despite its quality Derailer is not entirely without fault. “A Red House and Bones,” while not a blatant misstep, diverts the pacing of the album with its subdued tempo and somber vocals. One could also argue that Sic Waiting doesn’t do quite enough to differentiate themselves from the bands they emulate, though there’s really only so much improvisation welcome within the genre. For a solid helping of Fat Wreck-inspired and SoCal skate punk goodness, look no further than Sic Waiting and Derailer.
4 / 5 – Listen below.