- Dinosaur Jr.: J Mascis (vocals, guitar); Mike Johnson (bass).
- Additional personnel: Giovina Sessions, Woon Kuo Soon (violin); Marcie Brown (cello); Marty Knieriem (viola); Donna Gauger (trumpet); Kurt Fedora (bass); George Berz (drums); Bilinda Butcher, Tiffany Anders, Varsh Farazdel, Kevin Shields (background vocals).
- By now, 12 years and seven albums into a career that would have been impossible to foresee when three slacker dudes started mixing Neil Young's poetry of desolation with punk-rock's nihilistic noise in the mid-1980s, Dinosaur Jr. is what they call a "career" artist--a band that can keep doing what it does, with little or no relation to either current pop music or even the current alternative, and keep getting both respect and record-company support for it. What Dinosaur Jr. does is, not coincidentally, pretty much what Young does these days: create folk-rock chamber music for a heavy-metal guitar band.
- Like all recent Dinosaur Jr. albums, HAND IT OVER features its share of baroque touches, such as the Beatles-esque trumpet riff in "I'm Insane," and homey ones, like the banjo tune "Gettin Rough." But for the most part, HAND IT OVER features howling fuzz-pop tunes with falsetto vocals that unabashedly evoke Teenage Fanclub on the one hand, and howling folk-rock tunes that expertly cop Neil Young's guitar sound on the other. "Alone," eight minutes of distorted squall at ballad tempo, coulda shoulda been on Young's album ZUMA, except that the vocals are a bit smaller and the guitars a bit bigger. The guitars, after all, hold J Mascis' true voice.
Rolling Stone (4/3/97, p.67) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...it echoes with static-drenched folk strumming, classic-rock cadences, drawling vocals and flailing solos....an ambitious, uncompromising record that sets Dinosaur Jr. back on the path to mainstream obscurity and alt-rock supremacy."
Q (4/97, pp.120-121) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "J. Mascis's most cogent and touching yet....he was grunge before 'grunge' was coined; now...he's letting his songs really breathe."
Alternative Press (5/97, p.69) - 3 (out of 5) - "...The restrained power in 'Alone,' the happy horns in 'I'm Insane' and the disc's overall clean production attest to the thick, bushy hair on the band's chest..."
Option (5-6/97, p.101) - "...an exceptionally well-crafted, finely textured onslaught of guitars and melancholy...there's more crunch in the rhythms and more scream in the solos than he's allowed himself in a while..."
Melody Maker (3/22/97, p.48) - "...Even after nearly 10 years of grunge, Mascis still surprises with the range of his influences....HAND IT OVER is as refreshing and as exhilarating as sunshine after the rain."
NME (Magazine) (3/22/97, p.44) - "...ultimately, this is J's victory. Because...this is a return to the original Dinosaur blueprint....Dinosaur needn't be laid to rest yet."