The Decemberists' frontman Colin Meloy has dismissed rumours the cult folk act is splitting up, insisting the speculation couldn't be "farther from the truth".
The star recently sparked fans' fears the group was set to disband after revealing he was preparing to take a "long hiatus" from music to concentrate on other hobbies.
But Meloy is adamant that taking a break from The Decemberists does not mean the quintet is heading its separate ways.
He tells the Associated Press, "Nothing could be farther from the truth. With this record I feel we have a whole world in front of us with plenty of options and I'm excited to continue writing music for The Decemberists and performing with The Decemberists."
Meloy admits he's excited about his new side project, an illustrated fantasy book for young adults that he's been working on with his wife, artist Carson Ellis. The novel, titled Wildwood, is the first in a series for publishing house HarperCollins, and Meloy wants to focus on the book instead of having to juggle both careers simultaneously.
He says, "I've managed to pull it off over the last year and a half but it owes a lot to chance and luck and, thankfully, some creative epiphanies. I think it would water down both things if I tried to do them at the same time."
The unfounded break-up rumours emerged just weeks after The Decemberists' keyboard player Jenny Conlee was diagnosed with breast cancer.