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"A Boy You Once Knew Review"

"Do not judge this album by its cover. It looks like possibly some world beat mystical thing, but the tones and vocals that flow out are tinged with a light Peter Murphy glow-post-Bauhaus, solo-style Murphy. Possibly some of that worldly beat comes in with a Dead Can Dance whisper, but the songs seem to be tied to a solid emotional pop base; a little British sounding, slipping on the David Bowie and Morrissey reference points, although Ahmond remains Brooklyn based. You could moot this album in with all the other entries into "indie folk," but I think there is too much maturity and sophistication here for that. It's deeper, darker, and smoother, and it is full of an innocent wisdom." - BIG TAKEOVER MAGAZINE

"Ahmond WLUR FM Review"

"Brooklyn singer Ahmond blends lush guitar, strings, simple melodies and African rhythm on this chamber-pop album. "Everything Eden" reminds me of the Magnetic Fields in a way (perhaps the drama of the strings) while the catchy "Go to Africa" calls to mind Paul Simon or Toto." - WLUR FM

"A Boy You Once Knew Vintage Guitar Review"

"Ahmond has a musical foot in the world inhabited by the likes of New Bohemians, Cat Power, and the Crash Test Dummies. But where those bands seem desperate to prove they were too cool to care, Ahmond has a humanity and emotion in his delivery that would make them all sneer...high expectations for what he comes up with next." - VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE

"Ahmond - A Boy You Once Knew"

Brooklyn-based Ahmond’s debut album, ‘A Boy You Once Knew’, is one of the odder packages that’s landed on my desk this year. A cardboard sleeve depicting what looks like the mix tape of a US MC who’s obsessed with mysticism, with a title sounding decidedly emo, and… erm a small plastic rhino and a slide whistle. Even the press release is pretty cool – being presented in comic book format.

The thing is, I’m so used to these little gimmicks, (I have several times regretted the application of stickers or fake tattoos after hearing the CD), that I’m no longer impressed by covers, just books: and I rarely bother persevering after the first chapter if it stinks.

This relatively short debut, though, chooses its first steps well: the eponymous ‘A Boy You Once Knew’ showcases Ahmond’s lush guitar playing and gift for a good melody in what is a sentimental but non-too-indulgent signature song. While by no means his best work, it’s a great opener.

The real stand-outs here for me are the pensive tranquillity of ‘Thundershoes’ and the magnificent ‘Go To Africa’, which boasts a cornucopia of influences and translates them to the purest and most endearing expression of emotion. If you don’t suddenly find yourself up and dancing, then you obviously ain’t got your thundershoes on.

Comparisons with Paul Simon are inevitable here as ‘Graceland’ (bizarrely) seems to have the monopoly on African instrumentation in modern rock music, but Ahmond’s no Vampire Weekend – the subtlety of the blend here is worthy of a much closer listen. There is nothing disposable here.

Ahmond’s voice is pretty difficult to describe; in the main it’s pretty low, melodic and soulful, but there’s a spark of the untamed passion of youth that’s sometimes reminiscent of early Brett Anderson, and at its maturer moments – particularly in conjunction with the electric guitar on ‘Those Damn Things’ – is evocative of Alejandro Escovedo. What’s more, the backing vocals on ‘The Forgotten Realm’ sound eerily similar to Kate Bush – and that’s no bad thing.

Perhaps the most striking thing about ‘A Boy you Once Knew’ is how Ahmond manages to take such disparate influences, marry them with his quasi-mystical, professedly folkloric influences and yet produce an album that’s pretty easy listening.

At first this can be a weakness: after barely half an hour has passed, the nine tracks could quite easily slip by. But repeated listens ingrain this music, and it reaches parts you never thought it could, parts that most music just doesn’t manage to touch.

A talent well worth looking out for in future, to be sure – but why wait? Start right here with ‘A Boy You Once Knew’: a definite highlight of the latter part of 2008, and currently remaining stubbornly at the top of my playlist. - PLAYLOUDER

"Ahmond - A Boy You Once Knew"

It’s either a blessing or a curse for up-and-coming musicians to be compared to an established artist, depending on the fate of the latter. A perfect example occurred in 2001 and immediately afterwards, when every trendy rock band was dubbed the “New Strokes” – a title that soon went from eliciting gasps to inducing groans. Safe to say, it didn’t end well, so it’s with caution I label independent singer/songwriter Ahmond the “Next Kenna.” Hypocritical on my part, maybe, but frighteningly accurate. And perhaps the poppy ethno-alternative sound on Ahmond’s debut A Boy You Once Knew is more accessible, more acoustic, and more secure, but the comparison stands nonetheless. That’s because it’s a compliment of the highest order: a march-to-his-own-beat kind of guy, Ahmond manages to emulate the best parts of Kenna’s sound while still remaining unique.

A little history lesson: Kenna is, in this critic’s opinion, one of the freshest faces in the music industry, a charismatic experimenter who can pump out rocking dance tunes one on album (2007’s Make Sure They See My Face) while channeling New Order’s “Elegia” on another (“Hell Bent,” from 2003’s New Sacred Cow.) A younger incarnation of Beck, perhaps. Though the New York-based Ahmond is not as “urban” as Kenna (whose latest album is assisted by Neptunes alums), his sound on Boy is just as interesting: a fusion of old-fashioned alternative rock, 80’s New Wave, breezy folk, ethnic music, and a dozen other flavors, incorporated through melody rather than mosaic. It’s self-described “Folkloric Rock,” comfortable on New Age stations, coffee house sound systems, college campuses, and just about any other outlet.

Things start off humble and soft with title track “A Boy You Once Knew,” where a gliding acoustic gets accompaniments of electronic flourishes, pulsing string quartets, and Ahmond’s sweet but world-weary voice. Time and time again, Ahmond turns to rough sincerity over hubris and pretension to evoke visuals. That refreshing determination continues on the dancing ethno-rumbles of “Go To Africa” and “Those Damn Things,” with both tracks relying on driving percussion to guide the melody along in vastly different ways (the latter sounding like something a heyday-era Cranberries would produce.)

Often, Ahmond is content to be an unabashed, radio-friendly alternative junkie: addictive entries such as “You’re the Life” and “The Forgotten Realm (Left Behind)” might have been produced a decade ago, but manage to emulate the best aspects of David Gray-style adult rock. At other times, Boy is pleasingly experimental, with the sparse Baroque stylings of “Everything Eden” worthy of envelope-pushing artists such as Enya, Bjork, or even Peter Gabriel (or perhaps all of them together in some sort of hyper-duet.)

After devouring A Boy You Once Knew’s nine tracks and meager half-hour running time, the only complaint listeners are bound to have will likely concern the album’s brevity. That, however, turns out to be a trivial complaint for such a striking debut – especially for one that leaves you hungry for more, with the Mediterranean pulse of closing song “Collision” not nearly enough to sate. Yet there’s little doubt that the promising Ahmond – en route to an equally promising career – will deliver more.



Ahmond is a Brooklyn-based singer songwriter whose music can best be described as atmospheric adult alternative with a folk-world undertone. Being of the old school variety, I hear elements of Bowie in his voice, with perhaps a touch of Cat Stevens thrown in for good measure. There is fluidity in his voice that makes listening to his music very relaxing and captivating - especially in the opening track “A Boy You Once Knew.”

“Go to Africa” introduces tribal drums, some choral embellishments and a bit of a percussive drive; it is an aptly named track. Ahmond’s press material notes that this track has been compared to Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and although it is less layered than Simon’s track, the comparison is valid. Orchestral strings add a nice touch to the outtro.

“You’re the Life” has a bit more of an upbeat pop feel, which reminds me of old The English Beat tracks on Special Beat Service. A 21st century comparison might be Regina Spektor. This song is less dreamy and pushes Ahmond’s voice to its harder-edge pop side. The instrumentation suggests a more radio-ready feel than the prior tracks.

“The Forgotten Realm” immediately brought to mind some Gavin DeGraw, with its luscious piano and matter-of-fact vocal treatment. Dare I even say maybe Carole King would be a fair comparison? This song could easily find its way into the background music of a television show, as the main characters drift apart during a dream sequence.

“Thundershoes” and “Those Damn Things” continue to showcase a vocal diversity – ranging from dreamy introspective tones on “Thundershoes” to a Bowie-like treatment prominent in “Those Damn Things.” On the latter, Ahmond lets his voice gulp, soar, and semi-yodel, as it ranges freely from upper ethereal notes to deep bass-y grumblings. - EXMOGUL MUSIC

"Ahmond - A Boy You Once Knew"

Ahmond has a vocal style that reminds me somewhat of David McAlmont who once had a band with Bernard Butler. He has a lush musical landscape to support his androgynous vocals.

"Go To Africa" is an up-tempo swoon of a song that features an interesting instrumentation and a conscious lyric. The use of strings is sophisticated and inspired. "Thundershoes" is on of those genuinely spine-tingling moments when Ahmond's vocals sound like they can reach the stratosphere whilst reminding me of Morrissey. "Those Damn Things" is more rock than the other songs and manages a Cure-ish strut. The closing "Collusion" was featured on the bloody historical drama "Rome" and is haunting and atmospheric. Ahmond's style is really unique and he deserves to be heard by many. - Luna Kafe

"Ahmond - A Boy You Once Knew"

Who? Ahmond has worked in movies (including “Having Our Say”), commercials and as a songwriter for an Atlanta theatre group. This is his debut album
Any good? This is very unusual material. Title Track “A Boy You Once Knew” features fingerpicked guitar lines, understated piano and some mellow string lines. The rhythmic qualities of “Go To Africa” will work their way into your head and soon have you tapping along. “Thundershoes” is superb, the simple guitar line reminiscent of “Hero” by Enrique Inglesias, and this is the standout track. Or is it? “Those Darn Things” opens like a show tune but once the guitar kicks in it has more hooks than a fishing trip and you’ll be singing along before you know it. This is a standout track too; it‘s a hard decision to pick just one. “Everything Eden” reminded me of “Dear Jessie” from Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” album, not because of any huge similarity in the vocal lines but by the well-balanced use of strings. Closing instrumental “Collision” is used on the HBO series “Rome.” As you’d expect from his stage training, Ahmond’s vocals are crystal clear. The cover artwork (reproduced on his website) is excellent. - GUITAR NOISE


A Boy You Once Knew LP - Released Aug. 2008



Ahmond is a singer-songwriter and instrumental composer. He has just released a self-produced debut album called A Boy You Once Knew. It would be played alongside other urban folk contemporaries such as Sufjan Stevens, Patrick Wolf, Beirut, and Regina Spektor on Adult Alternative stations. The last track on the album "Collision," can already be heard on the first season of the HBO series Rome.

On the album, and in live performances, you will hear Ahmond playing a variety of folk instruments such as mandolins and woodwinds, as well as heavier electric guitars. His vocal styles are reminiscent of Morrissey, Bowie, Kate Bush and perhaps Peter Gabriel. It has been said that when Ahmond sings it sounds like a dragon or a mountain singing. Violins, cellos, and percussion often accompany Ahmond's haunting voice like on the epic track "Go To Africa," which is getting Graceland comparisons.

The music is a balance of pop and edgy experimentation. Ahmond will go from crooning to screeching in one breath without the music ever feeling unapproachable. On the track "Everything Eden," the beginning could almost be something off of a Shirley Collins record or any traditional Celtic record, but Ahmond is not content to stick to these conventions. By the end of the song you hear him belting primal wails similar to those of the BaAka people of the African forest.

Ahmond likes to call his music "Folkloric Rock," because his music is always about the magic in dichotomy and paradox. The "Lore," representing the sacred and traditional, while the "Rock" adds the sex and the twist. Much like the lyrics that kick off the album, the culmination brings one "Into the maelstrom..." of the mysteries within oneself and the land surrounding them.

Prior to Ahmond devoting nearly all of his time to music, he was featured in movies and commercials. He played Diahann Carol and Ruby Dee's great-grandnephew in the movie Having Our Say. At that time, he was also acting and working as a musical director for a theatre group formed to raise awareness about HIV, violence, and other social issues. After leaving the theatre group, he packed one bag and a guitar and left the States to travel around Europe, playing in pubs and on street corners where he honed his skills.

Ahmond is currently based in New York.