It's two, two, two quartets in one. The four women who make up the Real Vocal String Quartet are not only (as the name implies) a string quartet, but also a vocal foursome, adding a lot more to their arsenal. They make good use of all their weapons at times, as on the opener, "Kothbiro," which sees voices twine as elegantly as their instruments on a piece by Ayub Ogada. They're not a traditional string quartet by any means, and the Appalachian flourishes that are all over "Kitchen Girls" show they're more than capable of improvising with real style. Many of the tunes are from their own pens, and pieces like "Talking String Talking Drum" highlight their compositional ability. There's a lovely touch of Brazil on a pair of pieces by Pixinguinha put together in one, and a Paul Simon instrumental cover ("Night Game"). While the covers will get the press, their own work is the core here, and they're very accomplished. For a debut, this is very strong indeed.
AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson