The ’80s peak of Echo & the Bunnymen is long gone — and what to make of them now? “Meteorites,” the fifth album by singer Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant as a duo, adds to the confusion. It started as a solo record by McCulloch, with Sergeant jumping in later on. He may wish he hadn’t, because this mostly amounts to a depressing diary by McCulloch with some music stitched around it. McCulloch has tried to exorcise his demons through song. Only a few tunes here — notably “Constantinople,” with brilliant Middle Eastern guitar by Sergeant — approach the energy of classic Echo tracks. Most are slow and labored with monotonously downbeat lyrics. Some evoke genuine concern for McCulloch’s mental state, such as “Is This a Breakdown,” the whiny “Burn It Down,” and the nearly eight-minute “Market Town,” where he invites the listener to “come and find the ladder down.” He lets up at the end with “New Horizons,” but it’s a tough slog to get there. (Out Tuesday) STEVE MORSE
Echo & The Bunnymen perform at Paradise Rock Club Aug. 14.