Cult British group Portishead have thrilled fans by starting work on their long-awaited third album - after an eight-year hiatus from the studio.

GEOFF BARROW - the mastermind behind the GLORY BOX group's unique style of music - has assured impatient followers their album is near completion, contradicting reports they'd split.

He says, "We've just had our heads down really, we've never actually broken up, or parted, or whatever.

"So for us it just seems, even though we haven't played for years, we still see each other and write - we just haven't released a record for a long time."

Portishead's debut album DUMMY won Britain's prestigious MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE in 1995.

19/01/2005 17:02