The Stone Roses are rehearsing eight hours a day for their comeback.

The 'Waterfall' band are in the studio working on new material and practicing for their live return in June - when they will play three consecutive dates at Heaton Park in their hometown of Manchester - and they reportedly sound ''better than ever.''

Close confidant of the band, John Robb, told NME Magazine: ''The Stone Roses always worked hard, right from the very start - they rehearsed every day during their formative years and it's this work ethic they have returned to now.

''Rehearsing up to eight hours a day proves this is more ambitious than a mere reunion.''

The most enthusiastic member of the band is said to be guitarist John Squire, who had dropped out of the music industry altogether to become an artist before the reunion.

Robb added: ''John is enthusing about the way the band now sounds, saying that they now sound better than ever.''

He added one of the new songs by the group - which also includes singer Ian Brown, bassist Mani and drummer Reni - is ''brilliant and catchy.''

There is a great expectation for the group - who originally split in 1996 - to deliver at their comeback shows, but their showbiz friends are not worried that they will be able to live up to it.

Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher said: ''Why wouldn't it live up to expectations? They're great musicians, with great songs and them coming back is going to be mega. As long as it doesn't rain, it will be a great day.''