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Spiritualized, 'Always Together With You'

In the opening seconds of Spiritualized's 1997 masterpiece Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, a warm-but-distant voice recites the album's title amid the soft pings of satellites. From there, the song slowly blooms into full-blown Technicolor space-rock, setting the tone for an album-length explosion of heartache and grandeur.

On Feb. 25, nearly 25 years after Ladies and Gentlemen, Spiritualized will release its ninth album, Everything Was Beautiful. And its opening track... well, it kicks off with a warm-but-distant voice reciting the album's title amid the soft pings of satellites, then slowly blooms into full-blown Technicolor space-rock. Whether or not "Always Together With You" sets the tone for an album-length explosion of heartache and grandeur remains to be seen. But this is Spiritualized, and frontperson/songwriter Jason Pierce knows what he's doing.

"Always Together With You" has been kicking around for a while: It originally came out as a demo in 2014. But here, it's rendered as peak Spiritualized: layered and forceful, gazing inward and upward, lonesome and humble yet utterly connected to the ground and the stars.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)