Is J Mascis the unacknowledged love child of Neil Young? The 31-year-old leader of college radio fave Dinosaur Jr, Mascis shares with grunge rock’s elder statesman a virtuoso’s dizzying command of the electric guitar and a singing style that—how to put this nicely—may not be any voice coach’s proudest achievement but grows on you nonetheless. In fact, crank up “Can’t We Move This” and you might think you’re listening to an especially blistering outtake from Mirror Ball, Young’s 1995 collaboration with Pearl Jam.
That’s not to say that Mascis is an imitator. Rather, since founding Dinosaur Jr in 1985, Mascis’s impressive fretwork has made him the idol of guitar geeks from Chapel Hill to Tokyo. The guitar-drenched Hand It Over will only enhance his legend. And for those less enamored of six-string delights, a few of the disc’s songs, including “Sure Not Over You” and “Mick,” have enough lyrical hooks to please. Still, this record is best for those who think a Marshall amp is wasted unless its volume knob is set on 10. (Reprise)