After finally scoring a hit in America with its 1997 album, "Urban Hymns," the critically-acclaimed U.K. group the Verve has decided to call it a day.In a statement issued Tuesday by the band's management, members of the Verve say they have amicably agreed to the breakup and will subsequently move on to their own respective projects. "The decision to split the band did not come without a great deal of stress to me personally," explained Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft in the release. "I have always given everything to the band and would have continued to do so if circumstances had not made it impossible." While Ashcroft failed to elaborate on exactly what "circumstances" prompted the decision, some have pointed to a riff between Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe. Last summer, McCabe bowed out of the band's much-anticipated summer tour, citing stress (see "Verve Guitarist Drops Out Of Tour"). The exit marked the
second time within three years that McCabe had left the group, as he also took an extensive sabbatical following the release of "A Northern Soul" in 1995.Despite the breakthrough success of the Verve's Rolling Stones-inspired single, "Bittersweet Symphony," the band exhibited signs of becoming unglued last year when it attempted to mount a U.S. outing in support of "Urban Hymns." The Verve postponed the tour from the spring until the summer, then was forced to cancel a high-profile appearance at last year's Tibetan Freedom Concert in Washington, D.C., after bassist Simon Jones fell ill (see "Verve Sing Bittersweet Goodbye To Tibet Set"). Ashcroft has just begun work on his solo album, which will feature Verve drummer Pete Salisbury, and Jones has said that there's a chance that the remaining members of the band will continue to work with each other in the future, but that "it won't be as the Verve."