AVIVA AVIDAN Emuna (Faith) A.A.A.S Records Aviva Avidan fans will welcome her latest album, Emuna, as they did her six previous offerings. But to win over new followers, this album requires more dynamism. Avidan, 53, serves up nine tracks - seven of which were released as singles for radio play. Musically, the album's base is Mediterranean. Avidan also sprinkles refrains from other genres on her new songs, but the foundation is always Mizrahi. "Bo Nisa," a song about traveling, meshes electronica with Mediterranean; "Ata Iti" is more of an Eretz Yisrael tune but still boasts a dollop of Mizrahi melodies; and "Yalda Sheli" (written by her daughter, and which they performed at Kdam Eurovision) has a pop flavor. It seems as if Avidan decided to stick with what's safe and not take a risk on any of the songs. The result is that there's no "Yihiyeh Beseder" equivalent (the song that hurtled her to fame during the Gulf War) and no one song really stands out in this collection. Again, Avidan turned to others for the texts to her songs, including to the likes of Lea Shabat, the late Uzi Hitman, Shmuel Elbaz, and her daughter Maya. Avidan, who is one of the country's longest-standing singers, produced the album by herself this time instead of relying on a record label. While her resilience among her admirers is not in danger of disappearing, if she hopes to win support from the SMS generation she needs to find a way to really dazzle. NIR SANDCH Kacha Mekarov Hatav Hashmini/ Eighth Note With the local music market flooded with various grades of talents, many good but low-profile artists get lost in the mix. Nir Sandch is one such artist you haven't heard of, but should get to know. Kacha Mekarov is Sandch's debut offering, on which he worked four years. The mainstream pop album is well produced in terms of musical arrangement and text compilation. The 11 songs range from intimate ("Kmo Shebeteva") to contemporary dance ("Kol Hayam Remix"). Lea Shabat wrote most of the songs, with Esther Shamir, Gali Sagi, Shlomo Yedov and Sandch himself helping out lyrically. The Bar Ilan University student's voice is powerful. Even those who do not understand the Hebrew lyrics will feel his sentiments. Whereas a debut album usually boasts just two or three good songs, nearly all of the tracks here are high-quality. "Bubot Al Hutim," "Makom Shel Hesed," the title track, and "Hof Batuach" could all be hits - if only they got radio play. For Sandch, this album is an excellent debut and shows he has potential. In a way, it's strange that Sandch has not had more media play, but then that's the nature of the business.