After a career spanning 25 years Medieval Baebes return with this, their tenth album, and the first to feature solely original compositions. Recorded during the ‘wilderness months’ of a pandemic-lockdowned 2020, in the spiritual, legend-shrouded lodestone of Glastonbury, the twelve tracks on ‘Prayers Of The Rosary’ stylishly mix Christian liturgical plainsong with the Latin prayers of the rosary of the album’s title.
It’s a stunning piece of work. Beautiful, haunting vocal performances mix with traditional instruments such as lyres, ouds, and Chinese pipa, sitting alongside church bells, field-recorded nature sounds, and unusual additions such as bagpipes and even a hurdy gurdy. Composed and produced by founding member Katharine Blake and featuring the additional performances of multi-instrumentalists Michael J York (The Utopia Strong, Coil, Teleplasmiste) and Charlie Cawood (Anathema, Lost Crowns, Knifeworld), ‘Prayers Of The Rosary’ is at once meditative and uplifting, spiritual yet psychedelic, introspective yet buoyant. In a world of twenty-second soundbites, social media engagement analytics, and disposable everything, ‘Prayers Of The Rosary’ might just be the antidote we didn’t realise we needed all along.
Review by Alex Holmes