Stray was praised for its diversity of songs and styles, and for the assured nature of Roddy Frame's lyrics (which had been considered the weak-point of some of his earlier material). Its understated production was also received positively, particularly coming after the group's previous album Love, which sold well in the United Kingdom but had been criticised by some[by whom?] for being too sanitised and glossy.
Stray peaked at No. 22 on the albums chart. The single "Good Morning Britain", a collaboration with Mick Jones, reached No. 19.