ABBA have postponed the release of new music until the second half of 2019.

Fans were ecstatic when the legendary pop quartet announced last April that they had reunited in the studio for the first time since they split in 1983, and they would be releasing two brand new songs.

The tracks, called I Still Have Faith In You and Don’t Shut Me Down, will be the group’s first new music in 35 years. They were recorded to accompany a tour where virtual reality avatars will perform their music.

“It was like time had stood still and we had only been away on a short holiday,” the group said in a statement, describing being back in the studio together as “an extremely joyful experience”.

But when Christmas arrived and no music emerged, the group’s Benny Andersson admitted that the songs had been delayed and would likely arrive at “the beginning of next year [2019]” instead.

Now, a representative has told Variety that the songs have been pushed back yet again.

“No release before the summer,” they said. “Hopefully this fall.”

While no reason was provided, Benny Andersson hinted in a recent interview that legal complications had caused the delays, saying: “We are still trying to establish the agreement that needs to be done to be able to continue.”

While ABBA member Björn Ulvaeus confirmed last year that a live performance is “just not going to happen”, the group will appear as holograms for a new stage show as part of the upcoming ABBA Avatar Tour.

Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid will all be officially reuniting for what’s being described as a “new entertainment experience” involving virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Music manager Simon Fuller said in a statement: “We are exploring a new technological world that will allow us to create new forms of entertainment and content we couldn’t have previously imagined.”

ABBA’s Benny added: “We’re inspired by the limitless possibilities of what the future holds and are loving being a part of creating something new and dramatic here. A time machine that captures the essence of who we were. And are.”