Stories of a Stranger is arguably the first real O.A.R. album. While their sound is unmistakable, it now pulls of a contradictory feat by opening itself to a broader range of influences through songs more tightly focused than any they've done previously. By far it takes the listener closer than any other album to the matchless experience of hearing O.A.R. live-with the audio tweaked to position the listener in a center seat, a few rows back from the stage. All the ingredients are in place: the in-the-pocket lock-up of bassist Benj Gershman and drummer Chris Culos, the soulful slash and simmer of Jerry DiPizzo's sax, guitar parts from Richard On that stretch from steamy rhythm licks to souring, tuneful leads.