Madame Psychosis – “Concrete Streets” ~ 90s-00s nostalgia in a polished package!
Madame Psychosis is a five-piece alt-rock and indie-pop band based in Toronto and fronted by vocalist Michelle Mondesir, whose voice is definitively the center of the band’s sound. Their song “Concrete Streets” hits the “alt-rock” nail on the head – it’s a 90s-00s throwback rocker that makes me feel nostalgic for the days when alternative ruled the airwaves and guitar-based bangers were practically standard-issue.
“Concrete Streets” opens with a powerful two-chord punch that grabs your attention before descending immediately into a verse showcasing Mondesir’s clear, confident vocals. The alternating clean and distorted guitars, driving drums and melodic basslines absolutely recall the alternative rock of the late 1990s and early-to-mid 2000s with a faithfulness that makes me feel, as I said above, positively nostalgic.
The classic alternative rock vibes are the core of the song’s instrumentation, while Mondesir’s vocal performance – perhaps a little underpowered at times – carries the melody and the thematic development of the song with lyrics suggestive of a literal and metaphorical personal journey. The motif of “concrete streets,” a repeated lyric in the chorus, emphasizes this quite insistently. I absolutely love to hear a song like this – it’s the kind of song we would have called “radio-ready” once upon a time, and it’s a lovely throwback. I feel like I’m saying that a lot, but it’s true. I don’t feel like Madame Psychosis is aiming to be contemporary with “Concrete Streets,” they’re clearly paying homage to that specific era and doing it with great authenticity. There’s no virtuosity on display in the vocals or lyrics, save for a particularly good bit of bass guitar work (especially during the bridge), but then, that was never the point of this genre. The lyrics are good, the song is well-structured, and it fits the theme of being on a journey.
“Concrete Streets” is a well-produced song, too. It’s polished, it’s tight, and for Mondesir’s vocals being a little buried at times, it’s very well-mixed. That thing with the vocals, though… it bothers me. Especially during the chorus, I feel like there’s a combination of under-mixing and under-performance on Mondesir’s part that doesn’t lift the song quite as much as I would like. I actually wonder – not being familiar with their discography – if Madame Psychosis is departing from a softer sound on this song. Mondesir’s vocals would be absolutely perfect for an acoustic performance, but they do get a little lost under the distorted guitars here, despite being layered and very well performed.
Mild irritation with the vocals notwithstanding, this is a solid song. It’s performed well, produced well, structured well, written well – there isn’t anything wrong with it, and that’s how an alt-rock song should be. Most importantly, this song is a nice little time warp with its nostalgic 90s-00s vibe and should scratch a certain itch for anyone with an affinity for the genre.
Listen to "Concrete Streets" on Spotify here -
You can check out Madame Psychosis’s website here:
A brilliant addition to the repertoire -