Spilling over with teen-rock honesty and ambitious musical ideas, this debut from Salina, Kansas, quartet the Liquid Kids is worthy of an A — for effort. Things are bold and brassy on opener "Choke, Heimlich, Cough," which begins with a raspy giggle from singer Jessica Lewis, followed by a dose of introspective wordplay that will prove to be her signature style: It was quite dark/The thing that I thought of/The place where my mind placed my-seeelf. On that last, stretched syllable, her boys kick in with guitar, drum and bass in lockstep, sawing through a power-chord progression made for alt-rock radio. Unfortunately, it's one of the few moments on Random Acts of Silence when singer and band feel like part of the same act. Though the Liquid Kids come so, so close to nailing a solid mainstream sound — hard-edged pop-rock in the vein of bands such as Anberlin and Saving Abel — their approach is just too runny. Despite a few fumble-fingered lead-guitar licks, the band is tight and hard charging. But the instrumental parts rarely coalesce with Lewis' vocal lines, which vacillate between sing-speaking and a caterwaul that occasionally wavers off pitch. Not until the end of the record does the group find its footing, with the focused and savage "External Frustration," followed by the short, intricate and lovely "Infinite." If these last two tracks are a preview of the next Liquid Kids' album, it'll definitely be a contender.