The title, for those of a non-medical bent, refers to a state of insufficient oxygen supply and chimes with the mental state of Esther Greenwood, the progressively more anguished protagonist of The Bell Jar.

The 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath's only novel spawned a commission from Durham Book Festival in 2013 which ultimately led to Hypoxia, Kathryn Williams' 11th album. Paradoxically, though, this record seems blessed with a abundance of oxygen, being a collection of rare eloquence and spectacular beauty by which few listeners will remain unmoved.

Using for the most part a simple toolbox of acoustic guitar and bass bolstered by occasional flourishes of echo-laden, glassy sound effects, the Newcastle-based singer has hewn nine songs that deftly quarry sad-eyed prettiness from themes that are uniformly uncomfortable - misogyny, depression, misplaced love - without so much as tilting at melodrama.

If the backdrop woven by producer Ed Harcourt is the night sky, bedecked with stars and constellations, it's Williams' voice that is the supernova in this celestial gathering. Listening to When Nothing Meant Less, Cuckoo and the album's emotional pivot, Beating Heart, it springs to mind that perhaps only Kates Bush and Rusby or Scotland's long-overlooked Jerry Burns could hold a candle to performances so expressive, tender and measured.