U2 are currently recording their 12th studio album in southern France
U2 have delayed the release of their 12th studio album.
The move comes after it was widely reported that the record would be released in November.
Frontman Bono has now confirmed the LP, which is currently being completed in southern France, will not surface until early 2009.
He said: "I thought a while back we might have the album wrapped by now, but why come up above ground if there's more priceless stuff to be found?"
The singer went on: "I'm always the one who underestimates how easy it is to simply 'put out the songs now'.
"If it was just up to me they'd be out already! But early next year people will be able to start hearing what we've been doing.
"We want 2009 to be our year, so we're going to start making an impression very early on."
The album was rumoured to be titled No Line On The Horizon but Bono shed no further light on the subject.
But the singer did promise a change of direction on the new record.
"It's a brand new chapter for us, and everyone we've played the tracks to has said that musically it feels like another departure," he wrote on the band's website.
"The last two records were very personal, with a kind of three-piece at their heart, the primary colours of rock - bass, guitars and drum.
We know we have to emerge soon but we also know that people don't want another U2 album unless it is our best ever album
"But what we're about now is of the same order as the transition that took us from The Joshua Tree to Achtung Baby."
Following sessions with producers Danny Lanois and Brian Eno in Dublin and Morocco, the singer explained that the Irish quartet have amassed up to 60 songs to choose from.
"We've hit a rich songwriting vein," Bono explained. "It gets a bit dark down here but looks like we've found diamonds not coal.
"We know we have to emerge soon but we also know that people don't want another U2 album unless it is our best ever album.
"It has to be our most innovative, our most challenging or what's the point?".