A lot of people dislike the Medieval Baebes for being supposedly pretentious and beloved by pseudo-romantic Goth types - but that's basically just musical snobbery. I mean, come on - with a name like 'The Medieval Baebes', who's stupid enough to actually think they're aiming to appeal to lifelong Medieval Music scholars?
Really, you get far more out of them if you stop thinking of them in relation to other classical music and just love them for what they are - which is accessible, charming and unpretentious Medieval-esque choral loveliness.
The middle-english (or occasionally Latin) lyrics will probably not make sense to your average listener - (best to look at the sleeve notes before you attempt a sing-along!), but if you're familiar with the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gowere, William Dunbar etc, you'll start to spot the patterns in the language. You certainly don't need to know any middle-english to appreciate this, though - just listening to the overall, faery-like, dreamy effect is more than enough.
The tone and pace of the music is quite varied - some tracks are fast, slightly folky (anyone who likes traditional Scottish/Irish Ceilidh music might spot the odd link here) and with an almost dance-able beat, others are ethereal, slow, lamentation-type songs ('Swete Sonne' for one). I've heard other Baebes cds work in a bit more of an electronic, synthesiser feel to the music, but this seems to be made with almost exclusively traditional folky instruments and straightforward singing.
Virtually all of it has a basically religious Christian theme, but that's just symptomatic of the thought of the Medieval age. If you're narrow-minded or easily-offended by that kind of thing, this isn't the CD for you - personally, I'm a pagan and I don't find the Christian themes at all preachy or even noticeable, I'm too busy listening being absorbed by the overall magical feel of it. 'Kinderley' is probably the best track here - a charming little ditty about how life's painful and we're all going to die. :) I love it because it reminds me to make the most of the day and use my precious time wisely - it's ultimately a very positive, upbeat message. The music tends to just make you thoughtful and calm, rather than saddening you or actively cheering you up (although it's not bland enough to quite be chillout music, it's pretty laid-back overall - DON'T try and get a party started with this CD, it really won't work)
As for their singing talent...it's not incredible (none of the Baebes are exactly going to be singing operatic solos anytime soon), but beleive me, I attended an all-girls school with it's own chamber-music choir, and I KNOW what a horrible, untalented voice sounds like, and the Baebes really aren't that bad! All of their voices suit the music perfectly, and bar one or two rather odd voices (the narrator on 'So Spricht Das Leben' is an acquired taste), the singing has a lovely, peculiarly straightforward sweetness to it. Their voices actually have CHARACTER, which is unusual in this age where reality tv popstars get picked for their ability to whack out notes in identical mock-american accents. They may not have an incredible vocal range, but their voices are pure, wholesome, beautifully dreamy and sound like they're absolutely captivated by what they're singing. I think that's very commendable.
Basically, the Medieval Baebes are perfect if you're usually into pop, rock or goth and want something totally out-of-the-ordinary. It's almost certainly not going to sound like anything already in your CD collection!