Stefan Kucharczyk makes friends with Wolverhampton's tongue in cheek folksters the Yam Yams

Slade, Babylon Zoo, Beverly Knight. The reading of Wolverhampton's musical CV is oddly reminiscent of the dregs of an Esso garage CD bargain bin clear-out.

So has a city more famous for its piquant accent and hairraising ring road found new pioneers?

With their long awaited debut album English Country having its live launch at the weekend, emergent Wulfrunian acoustic two-piece the Yam Yams are out to set the record straight.

You might be forgiven for spotting the amusing connotations behind the name Yam Yams and expect the flimsy gimmickry employed by many hopeful unsigned bands.

For the initiated, the term "yam" means "you are" or "are you" in the city's native tongue (nothing to do with sweet potatoes).

Growing up together in the small South Staffordshire village of Perton, singer-guitarist Tim Howells and drummer Caroline Lowbridge attended the same high school before both heading off to Bournemouth University.

It was here, drawn together by their love of 60s music that the band was born.

"We didn't have a television," laughs Tim.

"We started experimenting with just rudimentary instruments - guitar, some vocals and drums. We wanted to see how far we could take it. I don't think we ever intended to start a serious band."

What is instantly striking about meeting the Yam Yams is their charming intimacy and refreshing, almost peculiar, modesty.

From the self-produced recordings to the hand-drawn record sleeves, everything captures the closeness of their relationship.

Despite forming in 2004, the band has only notched up a handful of live performances and their only previous release, At Home With the Yam Yams, was a four track EP released on Hellitone records in 2005.

"We have spent the last few years playing small venues and events in London," Caroline explains.

"We didn't feel ready to come home, so to speak, until we felt comfortable with the band ourselves."

Oddly, Sunday's launch at Wolverhampton's Varsity was their first gig on home soil and only their 11th in total.

However, their relatively casual line should not be mistaken for nonchalance. Both Tim and Caroline are adamant that pursuing pleasure instead of recklessly chasing fame and fortune can only work to the band's advantage.

"If you try and force a band towards success, it will never really happen for you," observes Tim.

"Some bands play gigs on the local circuit every week for years. It is hard to see how much ground they are making."

Yet despite such minimal exposure, through their website, the Yam Yams have charmed fans as far a field as Singapore and have also aroused interest from several indie record labels.

But haven't a certain Jack and Meg already got the guy-on-guitar/girl-on-drums market sewn up?

"We get compared to the White Stripes all the time," groans Caroline.

"I think people make the comparison without hearing us, and then can't get past it.

"It is a very easy pigeon hole to put us in, but we don't really aim for any genre. We leave that for other people to do," she laughs.

Happy to oblige. On the face of it, the White Stripes connection is a very easy one to make, but is a tag that is near impossible to make stick.

Instead, fitting in comfortably with the rising experimental folk scene, Yam Yams' new album demonstrates their knack for creating deconstructed, yet catchy pop songs engrained with heartfelt, folky lyrics and moving country ambience.

While tracks such as the two-minute pop-stomp Sea Song are as catchy as you will hear anywhere this side of the NME, the delicate and tentatively dark acoustic strains on English Country, especially on songs Cry, Take Me Down and Our Town, illustrate a emotional and musical subtlety that certainly vindicates the bands' chosen patience.

Although they are characteristically restrained about discussing the future, with a debut of such pedigree under their belts, they have every right to feel optimistic. This is most certainly one for the collection, not for the bargain bin.

English Country is available from