Not that Amirali's discipline is in question. In Time is an example of perfect craftsmanship. Whether it's the driving 4/4 of "Hear Me" or beatless tracks like "Last Words," there's nary an ounce of flab or a sound out of place. That composure might well be due to his classical piano training—something most apparent in the Bugge Wesseltoft-style keys in the sombre album opener "The Harmonious Song" and the slow procession of "Whisper"'s piano motif. But while the ivory melodies might be as soft as a baby pony, the beats kick like a mule. "Missing" in particular has an absolutely colossal bass drum buried beneath the showering piano, while "Just an Illusion" has the same slick beats as Crosstown Rebels labelmates Art Department.
The other defining feature of In Time is Amirali's vocals. Somewhere between Erland Oye's indie crooning and Karl Hyde's blank monotone, it's not a particularly potent instrument in itself, and Amirali more often than not uses it as an additional element rather than foregrounding it. (He also processes it into a vocodored robot for "Midnight Train.") When he does sing straight up on "The Sounds Of My Life," it makes sense: He sounds as evanescent as the vaguely heartworn lyrics, pleading, "Tell me your secrets / Nothing will change." His presence is most pronounced on "Beautiful World," dancing around the electro pop groove in tandem with warm synth chords and treated guitar.
Nothing on In Time is quite as good as "Beautiful World." But that's more to do with the track's exceptional quality than any failing on Amirali's part. If there is one quibble with the album, it's that his obsessive precision means that In Time lacks any rough edges or unexpected corners. That's a good thing for architecture, but less so for dance music. Nonetheless, it doesn't stop In Time from being a strong foundation for Amirali to build a promising future.