Album Review: Amirali / ‘In Time’ (Crosstown Rebels)


In Time has its roots in ’80s electro-pop and synth house, where Amirali Shahrestani credibly demonstrates cool for both genres, both past and present. Those styles are only the tip of an iceberg that Amirali chips away at. Shorts of ambiance and the downtempo want companionship and solitude in equal measure — “Painting on a Canvas” confirms Amirali’s enigma early on, minus his soon-dominant sleepy vocal. Into deep house, Amirali gently kicks on (“Beautiful World,” “Hear Me”) yet asserts caution and reels in his personal safety net, building a complex cross-section of calm and calculating. As the title suggests, he does everything by his watch.

The general air would appear frustrated or defeated. That’s not the case, but disappointment lingers into a smother — none of the usual synth wondrousness here. Paired with his ghost-trained, washed out lyrics giving guru-like status updates (“Missing” and “Just An Illusion” making long, guiding microphone inhalations), Amirali creates a tight-lipped nervousness. The Iranian/Canadian works reclusive behavior that nudges into the pop sphere and onto the dance floor, where he eventually stays put in a kind of half-awakening. When “Midnight Train” provides a slight lift and “My Way” works to a true Crosstown groove, the key is not to get too comfortable: that’s when you are most vulnerable, and that’s just where Amirali’s sly persuasiveness wants you.
File under: Strict Border, Hot Chip