From the opening track, Bolero, it is clear that The Core is a no-nonsense jazz band, hell-bent on making the kind of music they not only like to play, but like to listen to. With a strong melodic base, Møster pushes his sax to the sonic limits, sustaining a loose and free statement of the melody in view, even when it is far beyond what could reasonably be called "tenor".
On Brooklyn Serenade, there is a promise of bright lights, fast cars and an iconic skyline: a promise that Slettevoll's urbane playing delivers, alongside Møster's sax, alternating between anguish and joy over the solid rhythm work of Raknes and Aalberg.
Song for Eive comes in swinging, not so much like jazz, but like a prize fighter, fast-shuffling his feet, jabbing and strutting. Møster and Slettevoll provide the melodic solos that overlay an unstoppable rhythmic engine.
Free-Bird lives up to its name, soaring and diving, swooping and sweeping, allowing itself to rise and fall on the currents that ebb and flow beneath its wings.
The Shadow slinks through the darkness like an Eastern assassin in a Manhattan night, waiting for the right moment to strike. Raknes's solo grooves out into the light, undazzled or amazed, instead babbling fluently, telling us stories of what is yet to come.
New Thing cuts straight into an unapologetic explanation of itself before breaking away to tell us what it wants to become: and sure enough it transforms before us, Møster and Slettevoll once again taking the lead, but this time it's Aalberg's show, drumming as though tomorrow won't come if he stops even for a second.
Office Essentials is an album that pushes its way through your psyche, yet retains a freshness, and simultaneously, it contains a maturity derived from experience coupled with a headstrong will to create greatness derived from an innocence that has no understanding of "can't". Essential? It certainly is.