New Verve split has a Spinal Tap touch

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THERE WAS a touch of the spoof "rockumentary" about yesterday's announcement from The Verve that they are to split up - again. It is the third time the band have decided to part, after previous break-ups in 1994 and 1995.

The latest split was precipitated by the departure of guitarist Nick McCabe last year.The band hired a replacement guitarist to play a series of gigs, and lead singer Richard Ashcroft has been working on solo material.

The Urban Hymns album earned them best band and best album awards at the Brit Awards last year, and stayed in the Top Ten for over a year.

But bass player Simon Jones said he could not rule out working with the band in the future. He said: "Myself, Nick McCabe and Simon Tong are continuing to work on our own projects, while Pete Salisbury is working on Richard's new album. The rest of the band might work together again. If this happens it won't be as The Verve."

Spinal Tap, the fictitious British rock band in the eponymous film, started life as The Originals, before becoming the New Originals, then a series of other names and line-ups. The Verve seem destined to split- up and reform just as often.