Scour the Internet for information on Without Gravity and a lot of comparisons crop up: Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne, Nick Drake, My Morning Jacket. Weirdly, they all fit. The band, a four-piece from Reykjavik, traffics in a now-familiar lane of melancholy that, as of its full-length debut in 2005, had yet to wear out its welcome on triple-A radio and the iPods of attentive listeners in the 30-plus bracket. But if its sound isn't as determined to jolt and mystify as that of its countrymen -- the willfully eccentric Björk and Sigur Rós, specifically -- it is no less nimbly assembled.
Boredom brought the surname-less singer/guitarist Kalli, guitarist Konni, drummer/vocalist Grimsi, and double bass/e-bass player Ottar together in 2002. While more energetic bands clawed to get discovered and join the then-nascent Icelandic rock boom, the post-slacker foursome spent lazy afternoons in a bandmember's living room crafting songs delicate enough to fill the small space without overwhelming it. That gentleness and intimacy became their calling card -- once Without Gravity hit upon a name and started playing for audiences, their gigs were systematically booked in shoebox-sized clubs and closet-like cafés.
By 2005 word of their yearning, simple songs had spread beyond Nordic borders, and the ethereal Tenderfoot was recorded. Its U.S. release on the One Little Indian label the same year transported adult-leaning tastemakers, which may ultimately cause Kalli, Konni, Grimsi, and Ottar to reconsider their agoraphobic tendencies if they want to continue to be heard. Few living rooms can accommodate a fan base that has swollen as rapidly. ~ Tammy La Gorce