1986's Up From the Dark collects a series of U.K. singles recorded by the husband-and-wife team of Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin (both formerly of Hatfield and the North; Gaskin was leader of the group's female auxiliary, the Northettes) in the early '80s. Although Stewart's and Gaskin's roots are in '70s progressive music, these singles show an understanding and appreciation of post-punk dynamics, both in the subtly ironic '60s covers (nearly half of the album, ranging from their hit deconstruction of Lesley Gore's "It's My Party" to a pair of Motown tunes to a sympathetic reading of the Honeybus' freakbeat gem "Do I Figure in Your Life") to a sublime pair of covers of recent singles. Thomas Dolby's "Leipzig," one of his finest early songs, is given a ghostly, gorgeous reading, and this version of Andy Partridge's "Roads Girdle the Globe" is the finest XTC cover ever. Stewart's old bandmates Pip Pyle and Phil Miller contribute, as do King Crimson's Bill Bruford and Gaskin's old singing partner Amanda Parsons, but this is not prog rock nostalgia in any form.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason