EP Review: Peter Manos’ Lyrical and Lonesome EP ‘Do You Turn Red?’

Peter Manos’ debut EP ‘Do You Turn Red?’ is an ethereal yet grounded body of work on lonesomeness and connection.
Stream: ‘Do You Turn Red?’ – Peter Manos

Alternative R&B has been the genre that proves R&B can be a lullaby, that even a trap beat can be soothing with the right production. Peter Manos’ Do You Turn Red? (out July 15 via Capitol Records) is the newest addition to this canon, a beautiful body of work that exudes a certain kind of tranquility — one that belies the anxious and lonely lyrical content.

Do You Turn Red? – Peter Manos

On songs like “My Mind” and “Tennessee,” Manos’ voice swells and cracks over classic sounding chord progressions and spare production. “Tennessee,” the first single from the EP, is a particular standout — Manos makes ample use of autotune on his voice, which is typically a sound that should be used sparingly. But here, it works to create atmosphere for the otherworldly track. The first lyric, “Nothing to hold onto,” immediately suspends the listener in a place of uncertainty. As Manos continues, his voice is almost alien as the sonic landscape underneath him expands and grows more lush. It’s a sprawling song of isolation and regret, and Manos’ performance is vulnerable and intimate.

Nothing to hold on to
You don’t understand
It’s such a simple thing
And last week, I ran into you
You don’t realize, I’m paralyzed
Watch: “Tennessee” – Peter Manos

Zach’s Ballad” and the gorgeous title track share similar melancholy guitar lines, combining the sound of alt-R&B and mid-aughts indie-folk. The EP’s seven tracks are all sonically similar, but this isn’t a detriment; the songs on Do You Turn Red? almost work as a singular unit, all flowing together in a swirl of soft falsetto and muddled tones. The EP closes with Manos’ 2018 debut single, “In My Head.” Its lyrics encapsulate the loneliness of realizing change is happening around you when there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

Ooh-ooh-ooh, you’re in my head
And I keep on forgettin’
Ooh-ooh-ooh, you’re here instead
And it seems never-ending

There’s a stunning insularity to Do You Turn Red? as well as a strange wooziness. It often feels balanced on the tipping point between bittersweet nostalgia and sadness, and this balancing act has garnered comparisons to Frank Ocean and other denizens of the alt-R&B sphere — Peter Manos is a welcomed addition.

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:: stream/purchase Do You Turn Red? here ::

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Do You Turn Red?

an EP by Peter Manos

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