O.A.R. is finishing work on "Stories of a Stranger," the rock act's fifth studio album and second for Lava Records.

O.A.R. is finishing work on "Stories of a Stranger," the rock act's fifth studio album and second for Lava Records. Due Oct. 4, the set was produced by former Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison (Live, Von Bondies) and recorded at studios in Virginia, California and New York.

The set features such guests as Parliament keyboardist Bernie Worrell and singer/songwriter/Lava labelmate Toby Lightman. The latter's backing vocals can be heard on the album's lead single, "The Stranger," which will be promoted to U.S. radio outlets in late October.

Another highlight of the album is the studio debut of the song "Wonderful Day," one of the band's live show staples. Other songs slated for inclusion are "Heard the World," the Glen Ballard collaboration "Love and Memories" and "One Shot."

"We've got a lot riding on this record," says singer/guitarist Marc Roberge. "We tend to get pigeonholed as a jam band, a college band or a touring band. We haven't been taken seriously as songwriters and this is our chance to prove that we are first and foremost a rock'n'roll band and our songs have staying power."

O.A.R.'s last studio album, "In Between Now and Then," bowed at No. 54 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 182,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Last year's two-disc live set "34th & 8th," released on the band's own Everfine label, debuted at No. 6 on the Top Independent Albums survey.

The group's ongoing tour plays Boston tonight (July 28) in the run up to its own Feeling Better Than Everfine Festival, set for Aug. 20 in Chicago. The fourth-annual event will also feature sets by Citizen Cope, the Southland, Ludo, Michael Tolcher, Pepper, Small Town Workers, As Fast As, State Radio and Stephen Kellogg.

In September, the band will join Gavin DeGraw, Marc Broussard and others on the 2005 Rock Boat cruise, a Sept. 29-Oct. 3 trip through the Caribbean that departs from New Orleans.