Nuovo Testamento, made up of two friends from Italy with an affinity for Italo-disco and an LA-based vocalist with a goth-punk background, made for a potent combination at their Songbyrd show.
Nuovo Testamento, the three-piece group of singer Chelsey Crowley, electronic drummer Giacomo Zatti, and keyboardist Andrea Mantione, released their debut album New Earth in 2021. It was a dark, danceable record that drew from all the rose-tinted memories we have of 80s dance-pop and Hi-NRG tracks. Their sophomore album, 2023’s Love Lines, went even further to cement their coldwave-meets-pop bona-fides, with songs like “Heartbeats” sounding like it could have come straight out of Madonna’s early recordings. We’re creatures of nostalgia when it comes to music, but nostalgia alone doesn’t make this band great.
So it wasn’t any surprise that they packed out Songbyrd for their first show back in DC since opening for Molchat Doma earlier this year at 9:30 Club. Their slickly-produced tracks translate very well to the live stage. Zatti pounded away at a multitude of electronic drum pads scattered around him, each hit carrying a nostalgia bomb of Roland 808 drum machine sounds. Big cymbals, shallow kick drums, and a lot of gated reverb – you know the decade when you hear it. Mantione’s synth sounds are clearly inspired by the ubiquitous Yamaha DX7, an instrument the likes of Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, Kenny Loggins, and A-ha know very well. With the charismatic and energetic Crowley on vocals (, their sound is propelled to another level. She’s a powerhouse on songs like “Heat” and “Vanity,” taking the lead in getting the dance floor moving. Of course, with four-on-the-floor songs like these, it’s not hard to do so. Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, and Madonna are all touchstones here, but their special goth-meets-italo-disco touch makes Nuovo Testamento stand out all on its own.
The self-released sophomore album Love Lines is out on all music platforms. Opening for Nuovo Testamento was the Virginia-based post-punk/new wave trio Widow Rings. Photos + words by Mauricio Castro.