While not as directionally opposed as the cardinal points, each of the four tracks on Tin Machine presents a competing impulse. Winding up and down and back up again, the humid, textural opening title track rolls insistently but unhurried. “The Movie”, perhaps a little too naturally titled, then comes out of seemingly nowhere and grabs you by the hand, pulling you out into an anxious, rain-slicked and poorly lit streetscape straight out of bad-old-days-era New York City cinema. You can almost hear a panicked voice demand, “Where are you taking me?!”
The answer is “to the club”, apparently. Though the mood of “Girly Hole (remix)” has switched over from the progressive tendencies of “Tin Machine” to one of more abandon and repetition, the beat dropping out and back in with due respect to tried-and-true crowd pleasing methods. Like “The Movie”, “C-T” is another sharp left turn off of the dance floor, though other than serving to thwart inertia they share relatively few other sonic similarities. The piano-driven closer brings the EP to solemn halt; the shifting, stoic percussion nudging it along until it flickers out like a wax-drowned wick.
The engrossing video for “Tin Machine” offers a different kind of unsettling collision. Opening on a shot of an old clock face with birds painted on it striking noon (or is it midnight?), it appears to be a normal-enough European period piece film; one shot in the 1980s and set in the 1880s. A small village gathering is taking place along a river, all of the girls are wearing wildflower headdresses, but something amiss clearly has everyone’s attention. At the risk of giving too much away, things take a startling turn for the Spielberg. It is almost as if one film reel has been pressed against another hard enough so that they have bled into each other, creating an improbable third story completely unaware of its own surrealism.
Given the uncited origins of the video (no real credits for it are provided on the YouTube page), it is free to exist in a state of semi-mystery; loosely draped, if not exactly shrouded in it. A single narrative at work behind the Tin Machine EP may be similarly tricky to pin down, but Pour le Plaisir richly rewards the search.