Alt-country from Northwich? Sounds a little incongrous but it really does exist. It's a mix of pleasant melodies and occasional fine moments (track 4 on Come On In No 23?). They certainly can play their instruments. The First Fruits EP never comes close to exciting me. One word of warning is that anything sent to me that falls into Alt-country or Sonic Youth influenced tends to get a mediocre review at best because this is the music that really excites me - so make up your own mind by going to their website.
For me, there's just too many similarities to bands like Simply Red in that they take the obvious melodic route and it sounds a bit 'cheesy'. A few too many jazzy chords and too much blandness. In the world of alt-country it is the real maverick who challenges the listeners sensibilities who stands out (Iron & Wine, Will Oldham). The Dukes of Portland don't yet stand out from the crowd, but they have a solid musical basis to work on.