Hand It Over is a brilliant, complex, diverse and fitting end to the Dinosaur Jr era. While I thought all the bad press from fans and critics for Without a Sound was hugely unfair, it's true that this album really shows a much more involved and dedicated J Mascis. With almost every track, Mascis has worked the song structure, vocals and instrumentation to their most intruiging possibilities.
What defines this album is the variety and the particulars. The opener, "I Don't Think," leads off with a thunderous, bass-driven boom enveloping a falsetto vocal, then lapses into a wistful folky chorus. "Nothing's Going On" is a straight-ahead, slow-tempo rocker with heavy guitar overdrive and a straight snare-drum beat. "I'm Insane," one of the album's strongest cuts, features a loopy trumpet doing an off-key dance as the song switches between a dark stall and a manic chorus. "Can't We Move This" is the most probably the most satisfying track for fans of the middle albums, with a lot of slashing guitar work and the Marshalls set on Kill, again set against the fascinating counterpoint of an almost inaudible falsetto vocal. "Alone" is a three-chord feedback masterpiece which is the closest clone of Neil Young ever recorded by Mascis (and that's not a slight; it's brilliant in its own right). My personal favorite is "Loaded," with its agonized, gut-twisting vocal and chainsaw guitar line. The slower cuts, notably "Never Bought It" and "Sure Not Over You," are more classic Mascis, reminiscent of "Where You Been." "Getting Rough" is played on a banjo and might be taken as J's reflection on - and farewell to - Dinosaur Jr. This record really shows what music can be in the hands of determined genius; thank you J, and farewell Dino.