Compassion Fatigue, the first album released in eight years by Ottawa three-piece Ornaments, is an early candidate for album of the year.

I was hooked from the very opening guitar riff on the first track “Like Men” which leads into gang “ooh ooh”s and driving drums. This is the type of album that just doesn’t come around that much. It is the the type of opening that raises the hair on the back of the neck on first listen, keeping you hanging onto every word and strum anticipating what is to come next. It may have been a long wait between releases, but Compassion Fatigue was well worth the wait.

Ornaments perfectly blend melodic punk energy with their garage roots, and incorporate a strong helping of British rock influences. At times while listening I thought we might need to check the band’s citizenship to confirm that I can actually write this piece. David Pierce’s vocals blend absolutely masterfully with the non-stop rock, even when the band slows things down a little in “Pull the Alarm.”

After following up with another slow burner “Wake Up,” the five-song EP is wrapped up with rocking track “Too Late,” where Pierce’s voice really shines through. The chorus of “It’s is too late when everyone is running…It’s is too late when the sky’s on fire” really hits home, especially with the gang vocals putting emphasis on “It’s too late, it’s too late.” I can really see this song lending itself extremely well to live performances and getting the crowd jazzed up and involved.

As the title suggests, Compassion Fatigue, is not your feel good album of the summer. The album is lyrically very serious, deep and heavy even if it is over some very catchy beats, rhythms and delivered during some sing a long moments. And don’t let a song titled “Happy” fool you, it’s chorus reads “Is anybody happy? Or are we only just fucking around? Should I even be happy?”

Treat your ears and have a listen to Compassion Fatigue below and keep your eyes open for Ornaments around town. Their next listed show is July 20th at Live on Elgin supporting another great local band Elementals (details here).

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