When You Leave, this week’s addition to Dick Tracy Must Die, is the second track originally recorded on Sketchy Characters to be released completed in finished form. I say “finished,” but really, honestly, it’s re-recorded almost from scratch. I kept only the tempo and the original bamboo slap recordings – they’re mixed differently now, and fucked with a bit, but the originals, so there’s still a connection between the two.
This song’s about the difficulty of getting out of a bad situation; about the ability of that bad situation to reach further than you think; and it’s about the help and sympathy you don’t get when you make your break for it. It’s about the retribution you might inspire, the resentment of those who choose to stay behind, the nightmares that may follow you – and a warning not to get too comfortable too soon, because you might not be as far out of range as you hope you are. Think of it as an ode to PTSD and hypervigilance.
Musically, it’s not quite as spare or as brutal as Hide from Me; the bodhran like a heartbeat has some warmth to it in its panic, and the bamboo slaps aren’t as bloody. All that’s mostly because for all its warning and threat and stalkery badness, it’s fundamentally cautionary. It’s not “don’t run, or we’ll do this,” it’s “when you do run, be prepared. Be ready.”