Home › Forums › Dinosaur Related Discussions › Dinosaur/J News & Discussions › NME Review of Hand It Over
- This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 21 years, 9 months ago by SG.
September 6, 2001 at 4:27 pm #43664
U Can Read That Review Here:
FOR J Mascis, one morning had begun to look very similar to another. A yawn and a stretch and perhaps another 15 minutes in bed, he wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere. You see, most days it didn’t seem like there was anywhere left to go because, for a slothful man in his mid-30s, he’d already achieved so much.
Since 1987’s grunge-defining ‘You’re Living All Over Me’ album, Mascis hasn’t bothered looking back. He was immortalised on Sonic Youth’s ‘Teenage Riot’ ("It takes a teenage riot to get me out of bed…"), signed by Warners and by 1993 had reinvented himself in a flurry of chiming strings and timpani on the epic ‘Where You Been’ LP. Life wasn’t exactly tough…
And it showed, because two years ago he started coasting. The diffident sprawl of the ‘Without A Sound’ album was mirrored by a series of increasingly drowsy (and pointless) live appearances and an ill-fated stint as a solo artist. The subsequent live album he recorded wasn’t even considered good enough to be released in Britain – endemic of the general malaise affecting both him and his work. Dinosaur Jr didn’t seem to matter any more – not to their fans, and certainly not to Mascis himself. Which makes it all the more surprising that ‘Hand It Over’ sees Mascis finally hauling himself out of that all-consuming torpor. For the first time in four years, he actually sounds awake on one of his own records. It seems that, locked away in his rural Massachusetts retreat, he finally began to contemplate life as a bloated slacker nonentity. His response is to produce one of his best, and most exhilarating, albums for years.
Not that he’s altered the basic formula – that remains heroically intact. This is still the sound of failed romance conveyed through deafening guitar solos, it’s just this time there’s a greater sense of urgency, or maybe just desperation, about his self-pitying tales and heavily stoned remorse. As his collapsing falsetto reveals on ‘Sure Not Over You’, he knows it’s time to get his act together: "Fed up with feeling strange/I know you’ll split if I don’t change".
So, even though he turns up with all the usual negative sentiment and casual ennui (the titles are reassuringly familiar: ‘Nothin’s Goin’ On’, ‘I Don’t Think’, ‘Never Bought It’), he proceeds to obliterate it under a barrage of gargantuan guitar noise. All the tracks, then, are roughly the same: some minor personal distress, a split-second of silence and then several minutes of jet-powered distortion which is substantially louder than the rest of the song. It’s just like old times, except J’s also remembered to include some tunes.
In fact, so confident is Mascis of this album’s worth, he’s even opted to leave off the forthcoming single ‘Take A Run At The Sun’, the purest and most melodic pop song he’s ever written. In exchange though, he offers us guitars that sound like bugles (‘I’m Insane’), the snatched strings of ‘Can’t We Move This’ and the closing banjo excursion of ‘Gettin’ Rough’. There’s also a guest (vocal) appearance by My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields. That’s completely undetectable, but then the slipping guitars of ‘Loaded’ suggest perhaps his contribution was rather greater than anyone’s letting on.
Still, ultimately, this is J’s victory. Because, from the hilarious lyrics ("A vibe so bad I wanna puke" – ‘Sure Not Over You’) through to the sustained chaos of his guitar histrionics, this is a return to the original Dinosaur blueprint. ‘Hand It Over’ allows Mascis to emerge from his period of bleary-eyed indulgence to remind everyone (including himself) that he’s still capable of creating relentlessly innovative and catchy noise records.
He’s probably back in bed by now, but let him sleep. Mascis has returned slack of body, but eminently sound of mind. When he does finally emerge from under the covers, he can do so content in the knowledge that he’s proved many of his doubters wrong.
Dinosaur needn’t be laid to rest quite yet
Or Follow The Link: http://www.nme.com/NME/External/Reviews/Reviews_Story/0,1069,1161,00.html
[ September 06, 2001: Message edited by: Palace Brother ]</p>September 6, 2001 at 6:21 pm #57499
Thanks for that Palace Brother(I like that name better then not2amused)
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