AVClub: John Carney’s peppy flashback musical Sing Street is to his earlier Once what a glossy major-label debut is to a scrappier first album: Both have their pleasures, but the former can’t help but look a little artificial when compared to the latter. To be fair, Carney already made his leap to the majors with Begin Again, a cloying NYC music drama that had the gall to sell drippy, generic Starbucks rock as some sort of “authentic” answer to the phoniness of Top 40. Sing Street, a much more winning crowd-pleaser, takes Carney back to Ireland, back to handheld camerawork, and back to his own past as a moony, pop-loving youth. If it doesn’t quite return him to the aching intimacy of Once, it at least finds a better way for him to begin again. In Sing Street, Carney harbors no delusions about the integrity or ambitions of his hero. The kid just wants to get girls.