THE three remaining members of Alt-J, the award-winning indie band fronted by Southampton's Joe Newman have pledged to carry on after their guitarist and bassist quit.

They shock departure of Gwil Sainsbury was announced online on the group's Twitter feed.

A post said: “With regret, Gwil is leaving Alt-J. This is purely a personal decision and as our best friend we support him completely.”

It comes as the band were preparing to go into the studio to record a follow-up to their acclaimed debut album An Awesome Wave, released in May 2012.

It won the Mercury Music Prize and the Album of the Year at the Ivor Novello Awards last year while Alt-J were also nominated for three Brit Awards in 2012.

Last year the band which counts Yoko Ono, One Direction heart-throb Harry Styles, Prime Minister David Cameron and US popstar Miley Cyrus amongst their celebrity fans performed at some of the biggest festivals across the UK including Glastonbury, Radio 1's Big Weekend and Reading and Leeds.

Former Cantell School pupil Joe, from Highfield, and remaining bandmates Thom Green and Gus Unger-Hamilton have moved quickly to reassure worried fans that they will stay together.

A statement from Alt-J said: "Both Alt-J and Infectious (the band's record label) would like to reassure fans that the band remain excited about the future and are set to return to the studio very soon to begin work on the follow up to 2012's Barclaycard Mercury Prize winning An Awesome Wave."