The Coda Conduct
Seven Devils - Single (2014)
Review By Michael Marcus
November 12, 2014
This single is available for download from these vendors:
Florence + The Machine has been very good to the a cappella community these last few years. Most (if not all) of the band's singles from Dog Days Are Over to Spectrum have received the all-vocal treatment several times over, with varying degrees of success. So kudos to The Coda Conduct of Penn State for trying something different with Seven Devils, a deliciously obscure selection from 2011's Ceremonials that is perhaps best known for its use in a Game of Thrones trailer.
Unfortunately, that novelty is the best thing this track has going for it, and it wears off quickly.
With lyrics like "See I was dead when I woke up this morning / And I'll be dead before the day is done", this is about as dark and creepy as Florence gets. Coda Conduct's version mostly just plods along, reaching neither highs nor lows. Where the original is eerie and sparse, this version is positively dense with pad chords that sound like they were put there just to give the backs something to do. Soloist Haley Blazer has a lovely, breathy voice, but her interpretation lacks the raw power and emotion that this story of a vengeful lover demands. Indeed, the entire track could have benefited from a professional outside ear to help coax out more energy during the recording process (the group claims sole tracking credit).
As much as I love the boldness of the choice, I can't really recommend Seven Devils — unless of course you're looking to complete your collection of Florence + The Machine a cappella covers.